Sep 08, 2015

The Impact of BSN Education on Nursing Practice: Moving toward the ’80/20′ Recommendation in West Virginia

The Future of Nursing West Virginia has produced a white paper on how West Virginia is moving toward the “80/20” Institute of Medicine recommendation.

Author information:
Lou Ann Hartley, RN, PhD, NEA-BC, PAHM
Cassy Taylor, RN, DNP, DMP, APRN, CRNA, CNE
Co-sponsors, Future of Nursing West Virginia

Executive Summary

Research reveals that BSN prepared RNs practicing in hospitals results in:

  • Decreased mortality rates
  • Decreased readmissions
  • Increased likelihood of failure to rescue a patient
  • Improved reduction of hospital-acquired conditions such as pressure ulcers andpulmonary embolism
  • Reductions in length of stay, mortality related to heart failure, and lower rates of postsurgerymortality
  • BSN nurses are more satisfied with jobs, tend to stay in positions longer and are four times more likely to pursue graduate education

WV is not only falling short of the IOM recommendation to increase the number of BSN nurses
(40%); WV has also failed to graduate more BSN prepared nurses than ADN nurses in the last
two years. This is a dangerous trend that can have detrimental results to the citizens of WV in
terms of current and future health care delivery and outcomes.

Unfortunately, there has only been a 3.8% total increase in the cumulative number of BSN
nurses over a five year time frame, while the percentage of ADN nurses has remained at a
steady rate (44%) over the last three years. Since the majority of nurses work full time (74%)
and in hospitals (59%), as the organizational nursing policy makers, Chief Nursing Officers
(CNOs) are essential to achieve this recommendation.

Key solutions to increase the number of nurses with baccalaureate degrees from 40% to 80% by
2020 are to provide CNOs with the current data regarding BSN preparation so that they can be
successful in increasing the proportion of BSN-prepared RNs in their organization and identify
the barriers to pursuing BSN education in hospitals for RNs who want to pursue educational
advancement (ADN-to- BSN and RN-to-MSN).

While the literature substantiates the link between BSN preparation and enhanced patient outcomes, there is not a statewide plan to assist nursing leaders and educators in increasing the  proportion of BSN-prepared RNs in WV. Without a plan or an urgency to address this problem, no advancement in education or practice will commence. The purpose of this white paper is to  define the problem, describe the plan, and establish a call to action for increasing the proportion of BSN nurses in WV.