fbpx
featured

Why Do I Need A BSN Nursing Degree?


Careers

23 reasons why you should complete a BSN program at a nursing school if you are considering a career in healthcare.

1-Data show that health care facilities with higher percentages of BSN nurses enjoy better patient outcomes and significantly lower mortality rates. Magnet hospitals are model patient care facilities that typically employ a higher proportion of baccalaureate prepared nurses, 59% BSN as compared to 34% BSN at other hospitals. In several research studies, Marlene Kramer, Linda Aiken and others have found a strong relationship between organizational characteristics and patient outcomes.

2-The fact that passing rates for the NCLEX-RN©, the national licensing exam for RNs, are essentially the same for all three types of graduates is not proof that there are no differences among graduates. The NCLEX-RN©is an objective test that measures the minimum competency for safe entry into basic nursing practice. Passing rates should be high across all programs preparing new nurses. This exam does not test for differences between graduates of different entry-level programs. The NCLEX-RN© is only one indicator of competency, and it does not measure performance over time or test for all of the knowledge and skills developed through a BSN program.

3-Chief nurse officers (CNO) in university hospitals prefer to hire nurses who have baccalaureate degrees, and nurse administrators recognize distinct differences in competencies based on education. In a 2001 survey published in the Journal of Nursing Administration, 72% of these directors identified differences in practice between BSN-prepared nurses and those who have an associate degree or hospital diploma, citing stronger critical thinking and leadership skills.

4-Studies have also found that nurses prepared at the baccalaureate level have stronger communication and problem-solving skills (Johnson, 1988) and a higher proficiency in their ability to make nursing diagnoses and evaluate nursing interventions (Giger & Davidhizar, 1990).

5-Evidence shows that nursing education level is a factor in patient safety and quality of care. As cited in the report When Care Becomes a Burdenreleased by the Milbank Memorial Fund in 2001, two separate studies conducted in 1996 – one by the state of New York and one by the state of Texas – clearly show that significantly higher levels of medication errors and procedural violations are committed by nurses prepared at the associate degree and diploma levels as compared with the baccalaureate level. These findings are consistent with findings published in the July/August 2002 issue of Nurse Educator magazine that references studies conducted in Arizona, Colorado, Louisiana, Ohio and Tennessee that also found that nurses prepared at the associate degree and diploma levels make the majority of practice-related violations.

6-In a study published in the September 24, 2003 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association(JAMA), Dr. Linda Aiken and her colleagues at the University of Pennsylvania identified a clear link between higher levels of nursing education and better patient outcomes. This extensive study found that surgical patients have a “substantial survival advantage” if treated in hospitals with higher proportions of nurses educated at the baccalaureate or higher degree level. In hospitals, a 10 percent increase in the proportion of nurses holding BSN degrees decreased the risk of patient death and failure to rescue by 5 percent. The study authors further recommend that public financing of nursing education should aim at shaping a workforce best prepared to meet the needs of the population. They also call for renewed support and incentives from nurse employers to encourage registered nurses to pursue education at the baccalaureate and higher degree levels.

7-In a study published in the March/April 2005 issue of Nursing Research, Dr. Carole Estabrooks and her colleagues at the University of Alberta found that baccalaureate prepared nurses have a positive impact on mortality rates following an examination of more than 18,000 patient outcomes at 49 Canadian hospitals. This study, titled The Impact of Hospital Nursing Characteristics on 30-Day Mortality, confirms the findings from Dr. Linda Aiken’s landmark study in September 2003.

8-In the January 2007 Journal of Advanced Nursing, a study on the “Impact of Hospital Nursing Care on 30-day Mortality for Acute Medical Patients” found that BSN-prepared nurses have a positive impact on lowering mortality rates. Led by Dr. Ann E. Tourangeau, researchers from the University of Toronto and the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences in Ontario studied 46,993 patients admitted to the hospital with heart attacks, strokes, pneumonia and blood poisoning. The authors found that: “Hospitals with higher proportions of baccalaureate-prepared nurses tended to have lower 30-day mortality rates. Our findings indicated that a 10% increase in the proportion of baccalaureate prepared nurses was associated with 9 fewer deaths for every 1,000 discharged patients.”

9-In a study released in the May 2008 issue of the Journal of Nursing Administration, Dr. Linda Aiken and her colleagues confirmed the findings from her landmark 2003 study (see below) which show a strong link between RN education level and patient outcomes. Titled “Effects of Hospital Care Environment on Patient Mortality and Nurse Outcomes,” these leading nurse researchers found that every 10% increase in the proportion of BSN nurses on the hospital staff was associated with a 4% decrease in the risk of death.

10-In an article published in Health Services Researchin August 2008 that examined the effect of nursing practice environments on outcomes of hospitalized cancer patients undergoing surgery, Dr. Christopher Friese and colleagues found that nursing education level was significantly associated with patient outcomes. Nurses prepared at the baccalaureate-level were linked with lower mortality and failure-to-rescue rates. The authors conclude that “moving to a nurse workforce in which a higher proportion of staff nurses have at least a baccalaureate-level education would result in substantially fewer adverse outcomes for patients.”

11-In a January 2011 article published in the Journal of Nursing Scholarship, Drs. Deborah Kendall-Gallagher, Linda Aiken, and colleagues released the findings of an extensive study of the impact nurse specialty certification has on lowering patient mortality and failure to rescue rates in hospital settings. The researchers found that certification was associated with better patient outcomes, but only when care was provided by nurses with baccalaureate level education. The authors concluded that “no effect of specialization was seen in the absence of baccalaureate education.”

12-In the October 2012 issue of Medical Care, researchers from the University of Pennsylvania found that surgical patients in Magnet hospitals had 14% lower odds of inpatient death within 30 days and 12% lower odds of failure-to-rescue compared with patients cared for in non-Magnet hospitals. The study authors conclude that these better outcomes were attributed in large part to investments in highly qualified and educated nurses, including a higher proportion of baccalaureate prepared nurses.

13-In the February 2013 issue of the Journal of Nursing Administration,Mary Blegen and colleagues published findings from a cross-sectional study of 21 University HealthSystem Consortium hospitals to analyze the association between RN education and patient outcomes. The researchers found that hospitals with a higher percentage of RNs with baccalaureate or higher degrees had lower congestive heart failure mortality, decubitus ulcers, failure to rescue, and postoperative deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism and shorter length of stay.

14-In an article published in the March 2013 issue of Health Affairs, nurse researcher Ann Kutney-Lee and colleagues found that a 10-point increase in the percentage of nurses holding a BSN within a hospital was associated with an average reduction of 2.12 deaths for every 1,000 patients—and for a subset of patients with complications, an average reduction of 7.47 deaths per 1,000 patients.”

15-In a study published in the October 2014 issue of Medical Care, researcher Olga Yakusheva from the University of Michigan and her colleagues found that a 10% increase in the proportion of baccalaureate-prepared nurses on hospital units was associated with lowering the odds of patient mortality by 10.9%. Titled “Economic Evaluation of the 80% Baccalaureate Nurse Workforce Recommendation,” the study authors also found that increasing the amount of care provided by BSNs to 80% would result in significantly lower readmission rates and shorter lengths of stay. These outcomes translate into cost savings that would more than off-set expenses for increasing the number of baccalaureate-prepared nurses in hospital settings.

16-In the March 2019 issue of The Joint Commission Journal of Quality and Patient Safety, Dr. Maya Djukic and her colleagues from New York University released details from a new study, which found that baccalaureate-prepared RNs reported being significantly better prepared than associate degree nurses on 12 out of 16 areas related to quality and safety, including evidence-based practice, data analysis, and project implementation. The authors conclude that improving accreditation and organizational policies requiring the BSN for RNs could help safeguard the quality of patient care.

17-The National Advisory Council on Nurse Education and Practice (NACNEP), policy advisors to Congress and the Secretary for Health and Human Services on nursing issues, has urged that at least two-thirds of the nurse workforce hold baccalaureate or higher degrees in nursing. Currently, only 55 percent of nurses hold degrees at the baccalaureate level and above according to HRSA’s 2013 report on The U.S. Nursing Workforce: Trends in Supply and Education.

18-In March 2005, the American Organization of Nurse Executives (AONE) released a statement calling for all RNs to be educated in baccalaureate programs in an effort to adequately prepare clinicians for their challenging, complex roles. AONE’s statement, titled Practice and Education Partnership for the Future,represents the view of nursing’s practice leaders and a desire to create a more highly educated nursing workforce in the interest of improving patient safety and nursing care.

19-In February 2007, the Council on Physician and Nurse Supply released a statementcalling for a national effort to substantially expand baccalaureate nursing programs. Chaired by Richard “Buz” Cooper, MD and Linda Aiken, PhD, RN, the Council is based at the University of Pennsylvania. In the statement, the Council noted that a growing body of research supports the relationship between the level of nursing education and both the quality and safety of patient care. Consequently, the group is calling on policymakers to shift federal funding priorities in favor of supporting more baccalaureate nursing programs. This call was reaffirmed in a new statement released in March 2008.

20-In May 2010, the Tri-Council for Nursing (AACN, ANA, AONE, and NLN) issued a consensus statement calling for all RNs to advance their education in the interest of enhancing quality and safety across healthcare settings. In the statement titled Education Advancement of Registered Nurses,the Tri-Council organizations present a united view that a more highly educated nursing workforce is critical to meeting the nation’s nursing needs and delivering safe, effective patient care. In the policy statement, the Tri-Council finds that “without a more educated nursing workforce, the nation’s health will be further at risk.”

21-In October 2010, the Institute of Medicine released its landmark report on The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health, initiated by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which called for increasing the number of baccalaureate-prepared nurses in the workforce to 80% by 2020. The expert committee charged with preparing the evidence-based recommendations in this report state that to respond “to the demands of an evolving health care system and meet the changing needs of patients, nurses must achieve higher levels of education.”

22-In February 2019, the Campaign for Nursing’s Future, an initiative of the Center to Champion Nursing in America, published a series of state mapsshowcasing the progress being made by nurses in attaining baccalaureate degrees. The percentage of RNs with a BSN or higher degree is now at an all-time high with a national average of approximately 56%, up from 49% in 2010 when the Institute of Medicine’s report on the Future of Nursing was released. The BSN maps are based on data compiled in the American Community Survey.

23-In the September-October 2014 issue of Nurse Educator, a research team led by Sharon Kumm from the University of Kansas published findings from a statewide study, which showed clear differences in outcomes from BSN and ADN programs.  The study showed that 42 of 109 baccalaureate outcomes were reported met in ADN programs. The 67 outcomes that were not met were in the categories of liberal education, organizational and systems leadership, evidence-based practice, healthcare policy, finance and regulatory environments, interprofessional collaboration, and population health.

 

Interested in attending one of our nursing schools?

Earn your Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) in as little as three years. To learn more about our BSN program or find a campus near you click down below.

Explore Nursing Program