Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Leadership (Ed.D.)

Type of Paper/Work



Jayne K. Sommers

Second Advisor

Fr. Jean-Pierre Bongila

Third Advisor

Anna Kam


This qualitative study, using a case study methodology, explores the experiences of students of color in a nursing program. In particular, I sought to uncover how students of color conceptualize their experience and racial identity in a nursing program in the northern suburbs of Minneapolis, Minnesota. The purpose of this study is to document the experiences of students of color in a nursing program to advance educational opportunities in nursing education and develop meaningful practices in the classroom. This case study identifies the need to graduate nurses of color and prepare them to work alongside communities of color with an intent to combat social determinants of health and health inequities throughout the health care system. The use of interviews data from nursing program graduates as well as non-graduates, make the case for the need to address the issues that lie within our systems, pedagogy, and pervasive implicit bias in higher education, specifically, in nursing education. This case study details the strength and sacrifices students of color had to endure in a nursing program and how each student navigated the difficulties of being racially marginalized and targeted.

This study explores the personal stories of non-white students and how they recognized the unsaid rules and implications within higher education and the imbalance of power that affects their performance, cultural emotional health, and academic experience in nursing school. Using student development and critical race theories to unpack negative peak experiences or “racial disparities,” this study recommends additional training for administrators, faculty and staff.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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