Improved Patient Outcomes With a BSN

When people are sick, injured or need emergency medical attention, they rely on nurses to provide safe, quality care. Patients can become overwhelmed with medical terminology and procedures and may find navigating the healthcare system confusing and frustrating.

Nurses who have completed a Registered Nurse (RN) to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) online program, like that from Radford University, have the skills to treat stressed patients and guide them through the challenges in healthcare. This degree provides nursing professionals with the knowledge and skills to improve patient outcomes.

Why Is a Bachelor of Science in Nursing Important?

Many hospitals have long followed the recommendation published in the 2010 report Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health released by the Institute of Medicine (IOM), renamed the National Academy of Medicine (NAM). The IOM recommended that the proportion of BSN-prepared nurses in the workforce reach 80% by 2020. NAM updated their study incorporating changes in healthcare and community needs, as detailed in The Future of Nursing 2020-2030: Charting a Path to Achieve Health Equity.

In partnership with NAM, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), the AARP Foundation and the AARP formed the initiative The Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action. The campaign seeks to transform health and healthcare through nursing and building a healthier United States.

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) also supports the call for a greater number of baccalaureate-prepared nurses by recognizing the BSN as the “minimal preparation for professional nursing practice.” AACN backs the BSN as the preferred entry-level degree for these reasons:

  • The role of nurses has expanded beyond hospitals to all types of healthcare settings such as outpatient facilities, neighborhood centers, nursing homes and private residences. Continued access is a challenge nurses can uniquely meet.
  • Nurses not only provide bedside care but must also make independent clinical decisions, assist with case management and collaborate with other healthcare professionals. They must also meet the nuanced needs of an aging population living longer.
  • Nurses counsel patients about healthcare resources and educate them about treatment plans and ways to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

According to AACN’s fact sheet titled The Impact of Education on Nursing Practice, 70% of RNs hold a bachelor’s degree or higher as of 2023 data. In addition, the Campaign for Action reports that the number of first-time National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) test takers from BSN programs continues to grow. Moreover, the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 6% growth in nursing roles through 2032, emphasizing the growing demand for these professionals.

Why Are Better Patient Outcomes Linked to BSN-prepared Nurses?

Recent studies over the last few years have found a clear connection between nurses’ education level and patient outcomes. In fact, the AACN education and nursing practice fact sheet emphasizes a 2008 study that notes with “every 10% increase in the proportion of BSN nurses on the hospital staff was associated with a 4% decrease in the risk of death.” Additionally, researchers in a 2019 study found that hospitals with a higher percentage of BSN-prepared nurses saw better outcomes for patients who had experienced cardiac arrest.

The skills learned in BSN programs prepare nurses to apply critical nurse interventions and save lives. As the healthcare professionals already work at the forefront of healthcare and have the most significant patient interactions, their role is critical to patient outcomes.

How Can You Become a BSN-prepared Nurse?

Nurses can attend accelerated programs at a four-year college or university with an accredited nursing program to obtain their BSN. The Radford University RN to BSN program is 100% online and offers multiple start dates each year, which makes it a convenient option for working nurses.

The evidence connecting positive patient outcomes with BSN-prepared nurses is substantial, and researchers are still studying the relationship between nurse education and optimal patient care. Students interested in nursing should consider that a baccalaureate degree is widely regarded as the requisite preparation for new nurses. By completing a BSN program, nurses can ensure they meet the requirements of most healthcare employers and provide holistic patient care that meets the new standards in nursing.

Learn more about Radford University’s online RN to BSN program.

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