Four Reasons Employers Want BSN-Trained Nurses
More and more healthcare employers want nurses with bachelor’s of science degrees (BSNs)—or want their current nursing workforce to earn one. A variety of factors are influencing this movement towards preferring bachelor’s-level nurses. Gwynedd Mercy University, a leading regional nursing educator for over fifty years, presents four of the major reasons employers increasingly prefer nurses with BSNs.
Better Patient Outcomes
First and foremost, an increasingly overwhelming body of evidence shows that patients do better when more BSN-trained nurses are involved with their care. In the first five years of the 21st Century, three major studies examining over 300,000 patients in 300 hospitals revealed consistent links between the proportion of RNs with baccalaureate degrees with significantly reductions in patient mortality rates (Aiken, Clarke, Cheung, Sloane & Sliber, 2003; Estabrooks, Midodzi, Cummings, Ricker & Giovanetti, 2005; Tourangeau, et al., 2006).
More evidence has emerged since then that demonstrates better outcomes for patients treated by BSN nurses. Employers who want to reduce costs, save more lives, and improve quality of care have read the writing on the wall: patients receive better care when nurses have more education.
Seeking Magnet Status
For hospitals, obtaining Magnet Recognition from the American Nurses’ Association can give them a competitive edge over other facilities when it comes to patient choice and attracting the best talent. Part of the criteria for achieving Magnet status is the level of education obtained by the facility’s nurses, particularly those in positions of leadership. Generally, the ANA wants to see BSN-qualified nurses or better in leadership positions.
More Complex Care Environments
Healthcare in the United States is becoming significantly more complex, thanks to the myriad health needs of an aging population, legislative reforms, and a shift towards collaborative and community care. Employers want nurses who understand public health nursing, evidence-based practice, and who are aware of trends in technology that impact nursing and medical care. These topics and more are part of quality BSN degree programs. Hiring a nurse with a bachelor’s degree means hiring a nurse more likely to play an active role in the care team.
A Leadership Pipeline
There has been a trend over the last twenty years towards later and later retirement among veteran nurses. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation reports that in 2012, 75% of nurses were still working at the age of 62. However, this trend can’t continue indefinitely. The same wave of Baby Boom retirements affecting other industries is on the horizon for nursing. Once these veteran nurses are out of the workforce, who will step in to lead them?
It’s likely the answer is nurses with BSNs. BSN degrees teach leadership and management competencies alongside clinical and theoretical skills. Nurses with BSNs will be better equipped to manage nursing teams and supervise student nurses on clinical rounds. They also have the foundation they need to proceed on to Master of Science in nursing (MSN) programs and beyond, giving employers a potential supply of advanced practitioners in the future.