Jan 29, 2016

Advancing Nursing Education, Advancing Health: Video Encourages Nurses to Earn Higher Degrees

Nursing skills at the baccalaureate level are in high demand. This video from the Washington Center for Nursing  shows why investing in a higher degree is a smart career decision. “Advancing Nursing Education, Advancing Health” gives the employers’ perspective for needing a new kind of nursing workforce to care for an increasingly diverse, aging  population. The video also provides the perspective of nurses who have gone through the RN-to-BSN journey and their 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 bachelor’s-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 percent increase in the proportion of BSNs on hospital units was associated with lowering the odds of mortality by 10.9 percent. Many similar national and international studies have echoed these findings.

While education in associate degree in nursing 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 preventive care in interprofessional environments.

Collaboration with employers

The Washington Center for Nursing 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.