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Introduction. Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) education has significant impact on nursing skills, quality of care (QOC) and healthcare environment. In this paper the author, a registered nurse (RN), reviews the importance of baccalaureate education for her future clinical roles, its impact on her overall skills level and benefits it brings to her patients.
Opportunities for BSN. BSN increases the author’s opportunities in the US job markets, as 45.1% of healthcare facilities are willing to hire a BSN-qualified nurse (ACCN,2014) and this demand is expected to grow by 31% through 2022 (ACCN,2015). Besides, BSN certification gives the author a unique chance to work in the recognized practice settings. In line with ACCN nursing baccalaureate education program and RN-BSN route promotion (HRSA,2013), lots of repurtable public sector organizations have BSN as an essential requirement for entry-level jobs (the US Army, Navy, Air Force), or for promotion to next level (the Veteran’s Administration, the US Public Health Service )(ACCN,2015).
Future nursing roles. Due to expanded range of healthcare, life and social sciences disciplines studied under BSN program, the degree can provide excellent future opportunities for enhancing the author’s current roles. Given the projected nursing shortage through 2025 in 16 US states, population growth and the rapid changes in healthcare delivery system, BSN can allow the author to expand practice, resulting in such competitive advantages as enhanced diagnostic and evaluation skills, leadership and communication abilities(ACCN,2015). Besides, a focus on nursing research in course of baccalaureate studies, can build the author’s scientific background for clinical practice. As world countries are moving to bachelor or higher degree nursing education (HRSA, 2013), BSN can give rise to a next career step ensuring the necessary qualification level to practice internationally.
Impact on patient outcomes\quality of care. BSN education has proven to significantly improve patient’s mortality rates, treatment outcomes, and reduce medication errors (ACCN, 2015). 10-points increase in the number of BSN-educated nurses in 134 hospitals in Kutney-Lee, Sloane, & Aiken (2013) study could have prevented 500 deaths among general, orthopedic, and vascular surgery patients with mortality rates reduction to 2.12 deaths for every 1,000 patients. Other US studies showed that only 10% increase in baccalaureate-qualified nurses decreased the odds of adjusted inpatient 30-day mortality by 2-6% (Kendall-Gallagher, Aiken, Sloane, & Cimiotti, 2011); and 80% increase would result in lower readmission\shorter lengths of stay rates (Yakusheva, Lindrooth, & Weiss,2014).
Change within healthcare environment. BSN programme can make easier the specialty certification thus contributing to the author’s specialized nursing skills further development (Kendall-Gallagher et al., 2011). HRSA also anticipates BSN-qualified nursies will be assigned new roles within their common healthcare setting, e.g. preventive care or care coordination (HRSA, 2013). The skills and knowledge obtained during BSN studies will make nurses proactive players, suggesting improved care delivery models (ACCN, 2015).
Difference in nursing approach.The education makes difference to nursing approach (ACCN, 2015) making RN better patients’advocates, educators, researchers and policy-makers (HRSA, 2013). The author believes BSN can expand her scope of practice and horizons of understanding of all medical, social, cultural, psychological issues of each particular patient thus allowing her integration of a holistic care model into health care delivery and ensuring tailored approach to each her patient (ACCN, 2015).
Conclusion. BSN education will be a valuable investment for the author improving her general and special nursing skills, enhancing career opportunities within US and internationally, positively influencing her knowledge level and patient outcomes.
American Association of Colleges of Nursing (2014).Employment of New Nurse Graduates and Employer preferences for Baccalaureate-prepared Nurses. Retrieved from: http://www.aacn.nche.edu/leading_initiatives_news/news/2014/employment14
American Association of Colleges of Nursing (2015). Talking Points. HRSA Report on Nursing Workforce Projections through 2025. Retrieved from: http://www.aacn.nche.edu/media-relations/HRSA-Nursing-Workforce-Projections.pdf
Health Resources and Services Administration Bureau of Health Professions, National Center for Health Workforce Analysis (HRSA) (2013). The U.S. Nursing Workforce: Trends in Supply and Education.Retrieved from:
Kendall-Gallagher, D., Aiken, L.H, Sloane, D.M, and Cimiotti, J.P. (2011). Nurse specialty certification, inpatient mortality, and failure to rescue. J Nurs Scholarsh.,43(2),188-94.
Kutney-Lee, A., Sloane, D.M., and Aiken, L.H. (2013). An increase in the number of nurses with baccalaureate degrees is linked to lower rates of postsurgery mortality. Health Aff (Millwood), 32(3), 579–586.
Yakusheva, O., Lindrooth, R. and Weiss, M. (2014). Economic evaluation of the 80% baccalaureate nurse workforce recommendation: A patient-level analysis. Medical Care, 52(10), 864-869.