Nursing has been ranked the most trusted profession for 12 years running in a poll by Gallup on Honesty/ Ethics. The general public consistently sees nursing most in tune with the patient working as an advocate and viewed as trustworthy. Most people are not aware of the educational requirements to be a nurse and would be surprised to learn it is less than 4 years. Nursing care is why most people today go to the hospital and yet nursing has the least amount of education within healthcare professions.
Nursing has a variety of ways to enter the profession with 2, 3, and 4 year programs. The question, will a BSN, as the entry level requirement to become a nurse, improve patient care has been debated for decades.
Today, there is evidence to support this
With ten years of research exploring this argument, Linda Aiken, PhD, RN, FAAN, director of the Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research at the University Of Pennsylvania School Of Nursing has published numerous reports that link the education of nurses with positive patient outcomes, demonstrating a 5-7 % decrease in patient deaths with a 10 percent increase in BSN prepared nurses.
In a study in 2013 published in the Journal of Nursing Administration, by Mary Blegen and associates, shorter lengths of stay, lower rates of mortality for congestive heart failure, and other patient related outcomes were found with a higher percentage of BSN prepared nurses.
Numerous other studies have also found lower rates of death and other patient centered outcomes occur with more BSN prepared nurses.
This research in no way undermines the contribution of ADN or Diploma prepared nurses. It does recognize that demands for nursing have become much more complex with healthcare reform, increased technology, greater acuity, and more complicated medical treatments and therapies. The TriCouncil for Nursing reflected this in their 2010 policy statement and called for nurses at all levels to continue their education in order to meet the needs of greater complexity at the bedside along with an increased need for advanced practice nurses.
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