Research has linked registered nurses with higher education to having fewer medication errors, positive patient outcomes, and lower patient mortality rates (http://www.aacn.nche.edu/media-relations/fact-sheets/nursing-workforce ).

While many studies support this conclusion, a few are listed here:

  • In an article published in the March 2013 issue of Health Affairs, nurse researcher Ann Kutney-Lee and colleagues found that a 10-point increase in the percentage of nurses holding a BSN within a hospital was associated with an average reduction of 2.12 deaths for every 1,000 patients—and for a subset of patients with complications, an average reduction of 7.47 deaths per 1,000 patients.
  • In the February 2013 issue of the Journal of Nursing Administration, Mary Blegen and colleagues published findings from a cross-sectional study of 21 University Health system Consortium hospitals which found that hospitals with a higher percentage of RNs with baccalaureate or higher degrees had lower congestive heart failure mortality, decubitus ulcers, failure to rescue, and postoperative deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism and shorter length of stay.
  • An increase in a nurses' workload by one patient increased the likelihood of an inpatient dying within 30 days of admission by 7% (odds ratio 1.068, 95% CI 1.031–1.106), and every 10% increase in bachelor's degree nurses was associated with a decrease in this likelihood by 7% (0.929, 0.886–0.973). These associations imply that patients in hospitals in which 60% of nurses had bachelor's degrees and nurses cared for an average of six patients would have almost 30% lower mortality than patients in hospitals in which only 30% of nurses had bachelor's degrees and nurses cared for an average of eight patients. Therefore, Nurse staffing cuts to save money might adversely affect patient outcomes. An increased emphasis on bachelor's education for nurses could reduce preventable hospital deaths. (http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(13)62631-8/abstract )
  • In the October 2012 issue of Medical Care, researchers from the University of Pennsylvania found that surgical patients in Magnet hospitals had 14% lower odds of inpatient death within 30 days and 12% lower odds of failure-to-rescue compared with patients cared for in non-Magnet hospitals. The study authors conclude that these better outcomes were attributed in large part to investments in highly qualified and educated nurses, including a higher proportion of baccalaureate prepared nurses.

Research study after research study has proven that the safest hospitals have more BSN educated registered nurses than Associate's or diploma educated nurses. Because of this, the trend in nursing is to encourage higher education and has been for many years.

While Associate's degrees are fine for most healthcare facilities to get hired, the long-term employment prospects of a BSN degree educated nurse are far better than a registered nurse without a BSN.

Learn more about RN to BSN programs.

Amanda Bucceri Androus, RN, BSN
Latest posts by Amanda Bucceri Androus, RN, BSN (see all)
  • Nurse Manager Leadership Recommendations for Staff Engagement and Success - January 2, 2018

Our Visitors Found These Nursing Topics Useful

Immune system icon with plus sign shield warding off viruses

8 Ways Nurses Can Boost Their Immune Systems In Times Of Stress

Amid the COVID-19 global pandemic, nurses are working under more stressful conditions than ever before. Some nurses worry about not having proper PPE, as well as the potential of a wave of COVID-19 patients arriving on their unit at any…

How to Manage Your Stress as a Nurse

Nursing is an incredibly stressful career. From the moment nursing students start their education program when they retire, they face difficult situations and stressors on a daily basis. In fact, stress and burnout affect 10-70% of nurses. Sources of stress…

12-Hour Shifts Vs. 10-Hour Shifts: Pros and Cons of a 3 or 4 Day Workweek

One of the perks of being a nurse, at any degree level, is that schedules can be flexible. Many nursing roles are 24-hour jobs, which means nurses can work various shifts and hours…patient care does not always end at five…

Protecting Our Own: Nurses and Workplace Violence

The recent #MeToo movement has certainly brought violence against women into the media spotlight. This crusade has highlighted the importance of not only speaking out against such acts that were once kept quiet but also offers solutions for protecting those…

Nurses holding up hands in confused posture.

The Factors That Bind RNs: Are RNs Nurses If They Don't Work at the Bedside?

Congratulations! You are officially a part of the most trusted profession, with the opportunity to make a difference in people's lives every day. A nurse's role requires involvement in the most vulnerable situations, and they recognize the immense impact they…