Do Bachelor's Degrees Save Lives? - The Facts about Earning a BSN

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by Rasmussen College Rasmussen College (Trusted Brand)

Specializes in Career-Focused Programs.

In most lines of work, there’s one clear path to getting your foot in the door. But nursing is unique in that it offers multiple paths to entry-level positions. Whether you’ve earned a diploma, an associate degree or a bachelor’s degree, you know there is more than one way to become an RN.

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Graduatenurse14

1 Article; 630 Posts

The biggest reason I'm getting my BSN (it's online and I am a ADN) is so I can work away from the bedside. I want to combine my first career of teaching kids then adults (BS in Education) and do something in Health Literacy or Community Health.

When I get my BSN next Spring, I won't be a better bedside nurse because of it, only the next year at the bedside will do that.

ED Nurse, RN

ED Nurse, RN

Specializes in Emergency Medicine. Has 9 years experience. 369 Posts

Dacatster said:
They Irony about the whole ASN BSN debate, I have seen more ASN pass the NCLEX on the first try then BSN. Guess all that paper writing didn't give the critical thinking skills after all.

Do you have numbers and statistics on this information? If not, it's merely opinion.

I personally don't know a single BSN prepared nurse who did not pass on the first time they took the NCLEX.

TheCommuter, BSN, RN

Specializes in Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych. Has 16 years experience. 226 Articles; 27,608 Posts

ED Nurse, BSN RN said:
Do you have numbers and statistics on this information? If not, it's merely opinion.

Although I'm not the one who is into the ASN versus BSN debate, the link below is directly from the NCSBN. According to it...

  • Nearly 89 percent of all you.S.-educated diploma grads passed NCLEX on the first attempt in 2015
  • 88 percent of all you.S.-educated baccalaureate grads passed NCLEX on the first attempt in 2015
  • Nearly 83 percent of all you.S.-educated associate grads passed NCLEX on the first attempt in 2015

https://www.ncsbn.org/7285.htm

Extra Pickles

1,403 Posts

TheCommuter said:
Although I'm not the one who is into the ASN versus BSN debate, the link below is directly from the NCSBN. According to it...
  • Nearly 89 percent of all you.S.-educated diploma grads passed NCLEX on the first attempt in 2015
  • 88 percent of all you.S.-educated baccalaureate grads passed NCLEX on the first attempt in 2015
  • Nearly 83 percent of all you.S.-educated associate grads passed NCLEX on the first attempt in 2015

Thank you commuter, because now we know the real answer, which is to throw out all the BSN and ASN grads and make Diploma School graduates the entry to practice! Yay! ?

There are competent nurses and incompetent nurses in all areas of educational background, plenty to go around ?

ED Nurse, RN

ED Nurse, RN

Specializes in Emergency Medicine. Has 9 years experience. 369 Posts

TheCommuter said:
Although I'm not the one who is into the ASN versus BSN debate, the link below is directly from the NCSBN. According to it...
  • Nearly 89 percent of all you.S.-educated diploma grads passed NCLEX on the first attempt in 2015
  • 88 percent of all you.S.-educated baccalaureate grads passed NCLEX on the first attempt in 2015
  • Nearly 83 percent of all you.S.-educated associate grads passed NCLEX on the first attempt in 2015

Factoring in the standard deviation will basically equate to an equal pass rate for BSN and ASN. However, I stand behind my previous post of evolving our profession and what it takes to do so.

TriciaJ, RN

Specializes in Psych, Corrections, Med-Surg, Ambulatory. Has 41 years experience. 4,295 Posts

ICUman said:
Not sure why I couldn't find the quote feature in the article, so I copied and pasted this excerpt:

"The data suggests that healthcare organizations recognize the need to not only increase RN qualifications, but also increase the number of nurses available to care for patient"

So if this is the case why are so many hospitals decreasing bedside RN's on the floor and increasing nurse to patient ratios? I have not heard of a reduction in nurse to patient ratios in a long time. Yet, studies prove that doing so would decrease patient mortality rates. You would think this would be a priority for hospitals over saving money by decreasing nurses! Are we sure they recognize the need?

For what it's worth, I live near two large metros with multiple Level 1 trauma centers that don't care about the BSN yet. They are all hiring plenty of ADN nurses.

That's why it's such a BS study. How can you simultaneously measure 2 variables without a corollary study? The article is simply insulting.

You're right on. Since we KNOW that shorter patient loads equal better outcomes, why aren't hospitals jumping on that bandwagon?

Extra Pickles

1,403 Posts

TriciaJ said:
That's why it's such a BS study. How can you simultaneously measure 2 variables without a corollary study? The article is simply insulting.

You're right on. Since we KNOW that shorter patient loads equal better outcomes, why aren't hospitals jumping on that bandwagon?

because it costs them money. better to blame poor outcomes on those stupid, poorly educated nurses! then it's not the hospital's fault because after all they told them they need to get BSN degrees to fix the problem.

TriciaJ, RN

Specializes in Psych, Corrections, Med-Surg, Ambulatory. Has 41 years experience. 4,295 Posts

TiredKitten said:
I don't buy the hype that BSN nurses are better nurses. I started the BSN classes right after graduating from my ADN program, but only because the local hospitals were making students sign forms saying they will get their BSN within 3-5 years of getting hired. And the first thing I learned in these classes is the sole function was to get me the required skills to go into a managerial type jobs and not make me a better beside nurse.

I did a paper last year when I started the program. I titled it "The BS in BSN". I don't argue that the statistics show that BSN nurses have lower mortality rates. But as Mark Twain liked to say, "There are three types of lies: Lies, damned lies, and statistics."

In my research for my paper, I learned that BSN nurses do have lower mortality rates. But what isn't told in all those studies are how many years of experience those BSN nurses had as ADN or diploma nurses before continuing their studies. I found that before this recent push to get BSN, most nurses in the past only seemed to continue with BSN classes and higher when they were ready to get away from bedside nursing to administration type nursing jobs. In short, most nurses had years of experience before getting BSN.

So it's the experience, not the degree, that is the real reason BSN nurses are generally better nurses with lower mortality rates.

Thank you. Not a thing wrong with higher education. It's a very good idea. But it's past time for this naked emperor to be exposed.

TriciaJ, RN

Specializes in Psych, Corrections, Med-Surg, Ambulatory. Has 41 years experience. 4,295 Posts

NightOwl0624 said:
Pretty gutsy to write a paper with that title! I love it! You probably caused quite a stir among the professors!

In my program, we wrote paper after paper with the general idea "BSN good; ADN bad, very very bad". No other profession would have actual required credits focusing on why a 4year degree is better that a 2 year degree.

Unbelievable! You were already there, paying your money and they still had to keep up the brainwashing! I've worked with so many stellar nurses of all stripes; so glad most of us are too smart to be brainwashed.

Cowboyardee

Cowboyardee

472 Posts

ED Nurse, BSN RN said:
Factoring in the standard deviation will basically equate to an equal pass rate for BSN and ASN. However, I stand behind my previous post of evolving our profession and what it takes to do so.

I'm not actually opposed to increasing educational standards for RNs. In theory. But there are (at least) two major problems with 'evolving' our profession in this way as it stands right now.

1- The onus to pay for increasing said educational standards comes directly out of the nurses pocket. College tuition has inflated grossly out of proportion compared against the rest of the economy, and is just getting more expensive. For nurses already practicing with their ADN or diplomas (and for many of whom the educational benefits of an RN to BSN program are extremely dubious), financial assistance, when available, typically only pays part of the costs involved... which is to say nothing of compensating RNs for their time and effort spent.

It's clearly better for nurses to spend less on their educations if they can get the same quality of education.

2 - If the quality of a BSN education were clearly superior to a 2 year program, then you could justify increased education requirements. The problem is that it's not, and practicing nurses know this in their bones. RN to BSN programs are a joke. Nursing education is way too invested in care plans, theories, and care models, and these things come at the expense of building a stronger base of medical understanding (and possibly clinical experience, though you could argue that's more of a financial or access issue). Diploma programs especially have long competed favorably against BSN programs for NCLEX pass rates and clinical experience hours. ADN programs fare a little worse, but are still shockingly comparable in terms of pass rates and the caliber of new RNs emerging from these programs when you consider that a BSN has essentially twice as much higher education.

If a BSN included more advanced and in-depth medical education and clinical experiences, it would offer value for the extra time and money. As I said above, the cost of higher educational requirements mostly comes out of nurses' pockets. Where's the bang for my buck?

Farawyn

Has 25 years experience. 12,646 Posts

Cowboyardee said:
I'm not actually opposed to increasing educational standards for RNs. In theory. But there are (at least) two major problems with 'evolving' our profession in this way as it stands right now.

1- The onus to pay for increasing said educational standards comes directly out of the nurses pocket. College tuition has inflated grossly out of proportion compared against the rest of the economy, and is just getting more expensive. For nurses already practicing with their ADN or diplomas (and for many of whom the educational benefits of an RN to BSN program are extremely dubious), financial assistance, when available, typically only pays part of the costs involved... which is to say nothing of compensating RNs for their time and effort spent.

It's clearly better for nurses to spend less on their educations if they can get the same quality of education.

2 - If the quality of a BSN education were clearly superior to a 2 year program, then you could justify increased education requirements. The problem is that it's not, and practicing nurses know this in their bones. RN to BSN programs are a joke. Nursing education is way too invested in care plans, theories, and care models, and these things come at the expense of building a stronger base of medical understanding (and possibly clinical experience, though you could argue that's more of a financial or access issue). Diploma programs especially have long competed favorably against BSN programs for NCLEX pass rates and clinical experience hours. ADN programs fare a little worse, but are still shockingly comparable in terms of pass rates and the caliber of new RNs emerging from these programs when you consider that a BSN has essentially twice as much higher education.

If a BSN included more advanced and in-depth medical education and clinical experiences, it would offer value for the extra time and money. As I said above, the cost of higher educational requirements mostly comes out of nurses' pockets. Where's the bang for my buck?

EXACTLY this. Every single word.

TriciaJ, RN

Specializes in Psych, Corrections, Med-Surg, Ambulatory. Has 41 years experience. 4,295 Posts

DreamerMW said:
I'm in a BSN program at a local university. The extra courses teach nothing but useless, fluffy nursing theories that in no way will make me a better clinician. Our class always says that a BSN stands for BS+nursing classes
ED Nurse, BSN RN said:
Penn, which in my opinion sets the bar in the healthcare spectrum, has done a research study that directly correlates a decrease in mortality when the nurse is BSN prepared. Robert Wood Johnson has done a study on better patient outcomes with a BSN prepared nurse at the bedside.

I work for a very large healthcare system, our "mother" hospital only hires BSN prepared and that is one of the reasons they consistently rank at the top of best hospitals. They also encourage research from nurses at the bedside- because that is what will make huge impacts in the medical community. Nurses publishing this research will NOT be taken seriously in the medical community without a degree to back them. How can we "sit" at the big boy table and be taken seriously as clinicians if we as a profession don't continue to evolve through education and commit to the success educated nurses bring to our profession? We could make so many changes and impact patient outcomes so much more if we push for furthering our education. Where is the standard? Every other medical profession has a "line in the sand" so to say, about what at minimum is required to succeed- and those minimums are more than a bachelors degree. I think setting a BSN standard, is the very least we could commit to as a profession.

My hospital will also pay 100% for a nurse to obtain a BSN. It's foolish to not take advantage of that. However, it's no ones responsibility but ones own, to pay for education if you wish to better yourself and advance in your profession.

I don't think anyone here is disputing the benefits of higher education. There are many excellent reasons to have a BSN and higher. But most of us are very sick of hearing that having a BSN will help us keep our patients alive. That is just insulting.