Study says that nurses with baccalaureates reduce mortality rates

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While many cases can be made for getting your bachelor’s degree before becoming a nurse, perhaps none have hit home as hard as this recently published study.

Though an Institute of Medicine report has called for registered nurses to achieve higher levels of education, there was limited evidence that bachelor’s degrees made a difference on the job. However, using a Pennsylvania nurse survey and patient discharge data from 1999 and 2006, authors of a new study in Health Affairs found that “a ten-point increase in the percentage of nurses holding a baccalaureate degree in nursing 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.”

The authors also estimated that “if all 134 hospitals in the study had increased the percentage of their nurses with baccalaureates by ten points during our study’s time period, some 500 deaths among general, orthopedic, and vascular surgery patients might have been prevented.” Pretty staggering, right? They hope that these findings provide support for efforts to increase the education and employment of baccalaureate nurses.

Why do you think of this new study? Do you think it’s important to get your bachelor’s in nursing before joining the field? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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