Whether you are a nursing student or practicing nurse, you have probably heard that many hospitals across the country are pushing for their nursing workforce to be Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) prepared. If you are an RN with an associate degree, you may be thinking, “With all that I have going on in my life, why should I go back to school to get my BSN?” Here are five reasons why you should earn your BSN.
1. Fewer deaths are associated with BSN-prepared nurses.
The research clearly shows that hospitals with more BSN-prepared nurses have fewer patient deaths. An article published in Health Affairs in March 2013 by nurse researcher Ann Kutney-Lee and her colleagues concluded that there was an average reduction of 2.12 deaths for every 1,000 patients in hospitals that had a 10-point increase in BSN-prepared nurses.
A study published by Mary Blegen and colleagues titled “Baccalaureate Education and Patient Outcomes” concluded that hospitals with more BSN-prepared nurses had better patient outcomes with nursing sensitive indicators (for example, pressure ulcers, post-operative VTE/DVTs, shortened length of stay, failure to rescue and lower CHF mortality).
Studies supporting better outcomes with BSN-prepared nurses date back to the early 1990s. The research to support this is so convincing that the Institute of Medicine, now called the National Academy of Medicine, recommended that hospitals aspiring to obtain or maintain their Magnet designation — recognizing nursing excellence and superior patient outcomes — should have 80 percent of their nursing workforce BSN-prepared by the year 2020.
2. Hospitals are going to start requiring their nursing workforce to be BSN-prepared.
Because the research so clearly demonstrates that highly educated nurses mean fewer deaths and better patient outcomes, some hospitals are already making a BSN degree a requirement for their frontline nursing staff. Due to the changes in reimbursement from Medicaid and Medicare, hospitals must optimize patient outcomes and minimize costs. If nurses are not regularly using evidence-based practice and not being vigilant about nursing-sensitive indicators, they will not survive in the current healthcare climate.
3. This is the direction the profession is headed.
There are professional nursing organizations and certifications for almost every specialty. There are professional nursing conferences year-round, all across the country. Each year, nurse researchers publish hundreds of studies. Nurses now have a place at the table with hospital executives, political leaders and corporations alike.
Now more than ever, there are options for nurses to advance their careers. However, to move into any management or leadership role within nursing, a bachelor’s degree is usually required.
4. The bar is many healthcare providers, and nurses need to step up to the plate.
It is now recommended for physical therapists to have their doctoral degree. Registered dietitians must have a bachelor’s degree and many have master’s degrees. Pharmacists are doctorally prepared. Many hospital chaplains have their bachelor’s degrees as well. For nurses to sit at the table with their colleagues, they also need to be BSN-prepared. Nurses coordinate every aspect of a patient’s care and they need to have a comparable education to their colleagues.
5. RN to BSN programs are more accessible than ever.
With the increasing popularity of online education, many schools have developed online RN to BSN programs. With these programs, you can complete coursework at any time of day and anywhere there is an internet connection. Hospitals are pushing for more BSN-prepared nurses, and they are doing whatever they can to inspire and motivate their nursing workforce to go back to school. Many hospitals offer tuition reimbursement to offset the costs and they have resources to help find various scholarships.
When you consider the undeniable research, the hiring requirements of quality hospitals, the direction of nursing as a profession, and how convenient it is to go back to school, earning your BSN is not only the best option, but the only option.
Learn more about Colorado Mesa University online RN to BSN program.
Blegen, M.A., Goode, C.J., Park, S.H., Vaughn, T. & Spetz, J. (2013, February). “Baccalaureate education in nursing and patient outcomes.” Journal of Nursing Administration, 43(2), 89-94.
Kutney-Lee, A., Sloane, D., & Aiken, L. (2013). “An Increase in the Number of Nurses with Baccalaureate Degrees is Linked to Lower Rates of Post-surgery Mortality.” Health Affairs, 32:3579-586.
Rosseter, R. (2014, January 21). American Association of Colleges of Nursing, The Impact of Education on Nursing Practice. Retrieved from http://www.aacn.nche.edu/media-relations/fact-sheets/impact-of-education
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