Nurses with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) have become the new industry standard due to a combination of factors, including research that demonstrates their positive impact on patient care, cost savings, workforce quality and reduced burnout. Registered nurses (RNs) can earn a BSN by enrolling in an RN to BSN program.
A Business Case for Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Researchers found that patients who received 80 percent or more of their care from BSN-prepared nurses experienced 18.7 percent lower rates of readmission and 1.9 percent shorter lengths of stay. They also found that a 10 percent increase in the proportion of BSN-educated care correlates with a 10 percent reduction in mortality rates. These benefits outweigh the higher salary costs of BSN nurses. For instance, in one hospital, BSN care reduced annual readmissions by approximately 248 days, in turn reducing associated costs by $5,653,022.97 that year. These savings offset the cost of retaining a larger group of BSN-prepared nurses (with added salary costs estimated at $1,843,266.46 that year). This business case has encouraged hospital administrators to consider the financial benefits of hiring more BSN-trained nurses.
A BSN Improves Quality of Work
The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) says that “[bachelor of science in nursing] programs encompass all of the course work taught in associate degree and diploma programs plus a more in-depth treatment of the physical and social sciences, nursing research, public and community health, nursing management, and the humanities.” The foundation suggests that the additional coursework enhances students’ professional development; it also prepares nurses for a broader scope of practice with a better understanding of the cultural, political, economic and social issues that affect patients and influence patient healthcare decisions. Even a seemingly minor benefit like cultural awareness can have a noteworthy effect on patient healthcare, giving nurses an edge on improving patient compliance.
RN to BSN: A Route to a Bachelor of Science in Nursing
As a result of ongoing research and case studies, the last decade has seen policymakers and practice leaders recognizing the importance of BSNs in nursing practice. The Veterans Administration has made the BSN a minimum requirement for its entry-level nurses, and other hospitals are following suit. Enrolling in an RN to BSN program is one way for current associate degree nurses to adapt to the new standard. According to a June 2017 update from AACN, there are more than 600 online RN to BSN programs in the United States, offering prospective nurses a range of flexible options for continuing education.
According to AACN, “There is a growing body of evidence that shows that BSN graduates bring unique skills to their work as nursing clinicians and play an important role in the delivery of safe patient care.” As the front line of healthcare practice, nurses can benefit not only themselves but also their coworkers and patients by gaining the advanced knowledge offered by a BSN.
Learn more about the Arkansas State University online RN to BSN program.