Nursing News: Can hospitals save lives with bachelor degree nurses?

Written by LeAnn Thieman, CSP, March 28th, 2013

Can hospitals save lives by hiring more nurses with bachelor’s degrees? A new study suggests that may be so.

Lead author Ann Kutney-Lee and colleagues published their findings in this month’s issue of the policy journal Health Affairs. They looked at 134 hospitals and calculated that a 10-point increase in the percentage of nurses holding a baccalaureate degree saved about two lives for every 1,000 patients treated.

The study did not examine why the higher number of bachelor’s-level nurses was associated with fewer deaths. “As part of their practice, nurses are responsible for the continual assessment and monitoring of a patient’s condition, identifying changes that could indicate clinical deterioration, and initiating interventions when necessary,” Kutney-Lee said in a press release from the University of Pennsylvania, where she is a nursing professor.

Across the country, about 45% of nurses have bachelor’s degrees, according to the University of Pennsylvania. Others have associate’s degrees or diplomas. We need nurses performing at all levels of practice to meet the impending nursing shortage.

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One response to “Nursing News: Can hospitals save lives with bachelor degree nurses?”

  1. Dean Smith says:

    I have to questions if the tenure of the nursing staff is reviewed in this study? Also 134 is not a large sample size to review with the amount of hospitals we have in this country. My concern is we are sending a message reducing the validity of current practicing nurses that have years of experience and expertise. I see that most schools are using simulation labs for clinical practice. I am still on the fence about that practice. I do have my BSN and will soon have my MS, but I caution these broad statements about our clinical circle. Specifically since I never see articles questioning the level of education or location of where or comrades in medicine obtain their education. I see many are training in countries other than the U.S, but not a lot of alarms sounding about that. Just an observation. Thank you.

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