Higher Nursing Education and Its Impact on Patient Safety

In today’s health care field, nurses are in higher demand than ever before. With the constant increase in population, the baby boom generation growing older, and the national emphasis on public health care, nursing makes for a stable, well-paying career. But more and more hospitals and health care settings are requiring their nurses to have an RN to BSN degree, and the competencies obtained from an online nursing degree program can help students ensure they won’t be turned away from employment because they lack the required nursing qualifications.

According to a January 2014 study published by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, the rate of student enrollment in RN to BSN programs jumped more than 12 percent from 2013 to 2014. Nursing is in high demand among students, as well as patients, and one main reason for this increase is the recognition of the role higher education plays in improving patient safety.

In practice, higher education can make the difference in patient safety in many situations, including hands-on administration of medication and treatments, proficiency with new technologies, the ability to glean important clues from day-to-day contact with patients, and accurately and effectively communicating care instructions to families. Nurse staffing research is also on the rise as the health care industry looks for ways to save more lives while reducing costs. In fact, the National Institutes of Health found that for every 10% increase in nurses with bachelor degrees, the likelihood of patient mortality fell by 7% in hospital settings. Studies like this show that becoming a registered nurse isn’t always enough.

Administration of Medications

A primary role of the professional nurse is to administer medications and monitor patient’s response to medications and treatments after admission to the hospital. Increased knowledge of medications, delivery methods, and safety initiatives are a key to optimal patient care as nurses must work quickly.

Technological Proficiency

The implementation of the EMR (electronic medical record) brings many opportunities and challenges to the nursing workforce. The increased use of technology is an intricate part of health care. USM’s RN-BSN program is committed to the exploration and use of the latest in technological knowledge.

Evaluation of Treatment and Recovery

A key component of the nursing process is the evaluation of treatment and patients’ response to care provided. In the RN-BSN program, we take the nursing process to a higher level, building on present nursing knowledge gained from training as a registered nurse and examining different approaches to care for the patient, family, and community.

Enlisting the Family’s Help

Nursing care is multi-dimensional. Care of the patient includes care of the significant members of that patient’s support team. The level of detail that families should be involved with is also something a good nurse will know. Even the most common surgeries have intricate details that may frighten family members and require some explanation of the process. A registered nurse to bachelor of science in nursing program will look at cultural competencies required of the professional nurse to care for increased diversity in our population.

Online Nursing Degrees

The Institute of Medicine recommends 80 percent of working nurses hold a bachelor’s degree by 2020. With an online nursing degree, nurses can structure their coursework around their schedules, continuing to gain experience through their work while earning their college degree unlike many other four year college programs.

Online nursing degrees from accredited universities such as the University of Saint Mary have a proven track record in helping working health care providers gain the insight they need to succeed in our rapidly changing nursing and health care system.