Jan 29, 2016

Advancing Nursing Education, Advancing Health: New video encourages registered nurses to earn a BSN to better respond to a changing health care system

Nursing skills at the baccalaureate level are in high demand. A new video from the Washington Center for Nursing, “Advancing Nursing Education, Advancing Health,” shows why earning a BSN is key for nurses to help transform the health care system, and why investing in a higher degree is a smart career decision. In the video, nurses will hear the employer perspective for needing a new kind of nursing workforce to care for an increasingly diverse, aging and sicker population. They will also get the perspective of nurses who have gone through the RN-BSN journey and will hear helpful advice about balancing work, family and school.

The economic case for BSN education

The national goal of having 80 percent of nurses with a BSN or higher by 2020 is a response to increasing evidence that points to BSN-prepared nurses as the key to achieving high-quality care, improved health outcomes and lower costs – the Triple Aim of health care reform.

Research has shown that lower mortality rates, fewer medication errors, and positive outcomes are all linked to nurses prepared at the baccalaureate and graduate degree levels. For instance, in a study, “Economic Evaluation of the 80% Baccalaureate Nurse Workforce Recommendation: A Patient-Level Analysis,” researchers found that a 10% increase in the proportion of BSNs on hospital units was associated with lowering the odds of mortality by 10.9%. Many similar national and international studies have echoed these findings.

While education in associate degree in nursing (ADN) programs equips students with everyday nursing skills, baccalaureate education enhances both clinical competency and care delivery. BSN students are immersed in research, informatics, leadership and public health education, all of which prepares them to be strategic, critical thinkers who practice preventative care in Interprofessional environments.

Collaboration with employers

WCN is collaborating with nursing employers across Washington State to develop strategies and policies that promote academic progression among experienced nurses. These partnerships are helping us gather information about the policies or practices that are working in their hospitals, as well as the challenges or barriers they’ve encountered in this work. Together, we’re developing effective tools to help institutional leaders statewide promote and support academic progression for their nurses.