The nursing profession is evolving at dramatic speed, and more nurses are pursuing advanced degrees, taking on more responsibilities and moving into executive ranks at healthcare organizations.
BSN-prepared nurses are in demand; more health systems across the country are requiring nurses to have a BSN degree. Research shows that baccalaureate-prepared nurses achieve better results, and the positive impact on patients is notable.
In fact, in many health systems nurses are taking equal leadership roles with physicians and administrators, helping elevate the profession and requiring greater education throughout the nursing ranks.
Baccalaureate-Trained Nursing Staff Linked to Better Outcomes
A growing number of nurses are seeking advanced education through online RN to BSN programs. The additional training helps them master leadership skills, enhance research and process improvement capabilities, and learn how to implement evidence-based practices.
Nurses need these skills as they take larger roles in health system operations, including those in performance improvement, patient satisfaction and quality improvement functions.
An American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) survey from 2014 showed that 79.6 percent of employers require or prefer BSN-prepared nurses.
This follows the trend of healthcare organizations pursuing external designations as a tool for employee recruitment. At hospitals recognized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) Magnet Recognition Program®, BSN-prepared nurses account for 59 percent of the nursing staff, compared to 34 percent at other hospitals.
A study by the University of Pennsylvania published in Medical Care’s October 2012 edition showed that surgical patients in Magnet hospitals had a 14 percent lower rate of inpatient death within 30 days of surgery compared to patients at non-Magnet hospitals. The study’s authors attributed the lower mortality rates to the higher proportion of BSN-prepared nurses.
Nurses Enjoy Options for Advancing Education
The growth in the number of nurses seeking higher degrees is due in part to the availability of online RN to BSN programs, which enable nurses to continue working while advancing their education. By moving their studies to online programs, nurses can more easily juggle their many responsibilities.
Many health systems are working with area nursing schools to help lower barriers to completing online RN to BSN programs because they benefit from the research conducted and skills gained by nurses in these programs.
Patients benefit from nurses who continue to learn and apply new techniques. Patients also benefit from engaged nurses who advocate for them and work closely with their physicians.
Nursing leaders see a difference between BSNs and those with associate degrees, as they display stronger critical thinking and leadership skills.
Ultimately, as BSN-prepared nurses move into the executive level ranks and play a greater role in process improvements, they will need more advanced education.
Learn more about the LSUA online RN to BSN program.
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