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Why experienced nurses should get a bachelor's degree

Deciding whether to go back to school to earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) can be a big decision. Nurses who have worked in the field for many years may wonder how an RN to BSN online program could benefit them.

Research has shown higher education has a strong bearing on a nurse's practice and can result in better patient outcomes. In addition, earning a bachelor's in nursing helps prepare students for the shifting landscape of the healthcare profession. Enrolling in an RN to BSN online program can be the first step to a leadership role within the profession.

Evidence-based practice

Education increases the level of care and clinical competency among nurses, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. Research has shown a connection between nurses' education level and patient mortality rates.

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing cites such research from a study published in the August 2014 issue of the International Journal of Nursing Studies. The study reveals that for every 10 percent increase in nurses with a bachelor's in nursing there is a 9 percent decrease in the risk of death for patients. It has also been noted that those with a bachelor's in nursing make fewer medication mistakes.

Staying in step with changing healthcare

Nurses need to be prepared to practice in this ever-changing field. Those who choose to earn a bachelor's in nursing have the skills to meet the demands of today's healthcare landscape and adapt to the changes that will come tomorrow.

The curriculum in an RN to BSN online program gives students a well-rounded understanding of the social, cultural, environmental and financial issues facing patients and their families. This, in turn, makes nurses better equipped to be culturally sensitive and aware of the issues facing today's patients. In addition, they have an understanding of how to deliver the best care in a variety of situations.

Leadership roles

Working in direct patient care can be exciting and invigorating, but the time may come when nurses look to take on leadership roles. A bachelor's in nursing may give a nurse the chance to move away from what is often a physically demanding role of bedside care into leadership areas such as case management, unit managers and other roles. An RN to BSN online program provides students with the profession-specific leadership skills that are necessary to begin transitioning to administration or management positions.

Right now, 55 percent of nurses in the U.S. hold a bachelor's degree or higher, and the Institute of Medicine has issued a call for an increase to 80 percent or higher by 2020. Those who choose to earn a bachelor's degree in nursing will be benefit from the education and experience necessary to be the best nurse possible.


Sources

Creating a More Highly Qualified Workforce: http://www.aacn.nche.edu/media-relations/fact-sheets/nursing-workforce.

The Impact of Education on Nursing Practice: http://www.aacn.nche.edu/media-relations/fact-sheets/impact-of-education

Institute of Medicine, The Future of Nursing, Focus on Education: www.iom.edu/~/media/Files/Report%20Files/2010/The-Future-of-Nursing/Nursing%20Education%202010%20Brief.pdf


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