In 2019, there were more than 1,000 vacant nursing positions in central Arkansas alone — meaning plenty of opportunities for nurses. However, many healthcare employers acknowledge a need for nursing professionals to receive more training and education to provide quality care. As one executive explains, "The nurses whom hospitals do hire require additional investment in training, in part because nursing education isn't as regimented as, say, becoming a physician."
This makes completing an Registered Nurse (RN) to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program online more important than ever, especially since 43.2% of employers require newly hired nurses to have a BSN. In comparison, 82.1% of employers strongly prefer that newly hired nurses have a BSN.
Why Do Employers Want Nurses With a BSN?
A BSN-prepared nursing workforce provides significant benefits for all those involved: the nurses, employers and the institutions that care for patients. Here are six reasons BSN-prepared nursing professionals are increasingly valuable in the healthcare field:
- Improved Patient Outcomes
Several studies have shown that having a predominantly BSN-prepared nursing staff is associated with better patient outcomes. A research study by Dr. Linda Aiken and her colleagues in 2017 discovered that when assistive personnel without professional qualifications were responsible for bedside care, the number of preventable deaths increased while the quality of care decreased.
Another study by researcher Olga Yakusheva and her colleagues found that "increasing the amount of care provided by BSNs to 80% would result in significantly lower readmission rates and shorter lengths of stay. These outcomes translate into cost savings that would more than off-set expenses for increasing the number of baccalaureate-prepared nurses in hospital settings."
Essentially, a BSN-prepared workforce leads to better patient care and recovery while reducing costs for employers.
- More BSN Nurses Required to Obtain Magnet Designation
As is set by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), hospitals wanting to obtain Magnet recognition are also required to have nurse leaders with at least baccalaureate nursing preparation. A facility's Magnet-status indicates to patients, physicians and nurses that the institution provides high-quality patient care and values the contribution of highly trained nurses and physicians. This is a win-win for employers wanting to attract patients as well as highly skilled healthcare professionals.
- Better Nursing Outcomes and Retention
Hospitals with Magnet recognition not only have better patient outcomes but positive effects on nurses as well. Facilities with Magnet designation have been shown to attract and retain highly skilled nurses and physicians. With the current nursing shortage, nursing retention is critical for employers to ensure safe patient care and reduce costs associated with recruitment and orientation.
- Increased Complexity of the Healthcare System
A report titled The Future of Nursing by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) suggests "that to work collaboratively and effectively as partners with other professionals in a complex and changing system, nurses need to achieve higher levels of education, both at the time of entry into the profession and throughout their careers." BSN-prepared nurses have the knowledge and skills to navigate this complex system when caring for patients and working with multiple stakeholders.
- Expanded Nursing Skill Set
Not only is the healthcare system becoming more complex, but patient conditions are growing increasingly complicated as well. Higher levels of patient acuity and patients managing multiple chronic health conditions require nurses with advanced assessment skills and disease process knowledge to provide safe, effective care. A BSN program also provides nurses with skills such as critical thinking, knowledge of how to access resources, communication, collaboration, improvisation and the ability to self-educate. BSN-prepared nurses also have health promotion, case management and leadership abilities that employers highly value.
- Ability to Work in a Wide Range of Nursing Roles
Because BSN-prepared nurses possess a wide range of advanced nursing skills, they are "prized by employers...for their ability to practice across a variety of inpatient and outpatient settings." This versatility is especially useful in rural community hospitals and healthcare facilities as well as other settings where nurses hold a variety of roles and specialties.
Because BSN-prepared nurses possess advanced nursing knowledge and can work in multiple roles, specialties and healthcare settings, they are highly-sought-after and indispensable resources for employers and patients alike.
Learn more about Arkansas State University's online RN to BSN program.
American Association of Colleges of Nursing:
Employment of New Nurse Graduates and Employer Preferences for Baccalaureate-Prepared Nurses
The Impact of Education on Nursing Practice