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DiversityNursing Blog

Bachelor's In Nursing Is Becoming A Must

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Tue, Sep 13, 2016 @ 03:12 PM

bsn-landing-bh2.jpgAs healthcare changes, so do their goals. The latest goal is 80% of the Nurse workforce should have their BSN by 2020. Most hospitals are no longer hiring Nurses with only their Associates degree. If they do hire them, the Nurses are expected to sign a contract that they'll get their BSN within a certain time frame. 

Anna Marie Luzar, nurse director of St. Vincent Charity Medical Center's Spine and Orthopedic unit, decided in 2011 that she was ready to return to school to get her bachelor of science in nursing.

When explaining why, Luzar proudly reads from what she wrote for school about her return: “There is much I do not know, have not taken into consideration or addressed from nursing school 30 years ago. It is the right time physically and emotionally in my personal life to commit to a program to learn what I do not know.”

Luzar, who received her BSN in 2014 from Ohio University, is one of many nurses taking advantage of RN-to-BSN programs across the region and country that have been cropping up to help registered nurses with diploma or associate degrees take the next step in their education as hospitals increasingly expect higher skill levels.

“The hospitals at least in our area aren't hiring the associate degree prepared nurses, or they would prefer to have a BSN,” said Linda Linc, dean of the Byers School of Nursing at Walsh University in North Canton. “So you're seeing more individuals going right into a BSN program, and there are a lot of them in Northeast Ohio.”

Many Northeast Ohio health systems are looking only to hire nurses with a BSN. Those with an associate's degrees are often asked to sign a contract that they'll get their BSN within a certain timeframe after employment.

Following a 2010 report from the Institute of Medicine, health care providers across the country pushed forward initiatives to get more of their nurses baccalaureate-trained. “The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health” recommended that 80% of the nursing workforce have a BSN by 2020. The report stated that the health care system doesn't provide sufficient incentives for nurses to further their education and get additional training.

“Everyone has taken that very seriously, knowing that health care reform requires nurses to be front and centered and that they need to be well-educated,” said Joan Kavanagh, associate chief nursing officer for the Office of Nursing Education and Professional Development at Cleveland Clinic.

Patricia Sharpnack, dean of the Breen School of Nursing at Ursuline College, said she's seeing an uptick in the number of students looking to complete their BSN

“Initially there wasn't as great of a push by the hospitals or the acute care agencies to really mandate this,” she said.

Hiring preferences

MetroHealth prefers that recent graduates it hires have a BSN, but it makes exceptions for current employees, such as medics, working through school.

For more experienced nurses without a BSN, there's a ticking clock to get one. Earlier this year, the system dropped its timeframe from the three-year requirement it started with in 2013 to a two-year window for nurses to get their bachelor's, “knowing that the year 2020 is creeping up on us,” said Melissa Kline, vice president and chief nursing officer at MetroHealth.

In the past three years, the number of MetroHealth's nurses who are baccalaureate-trained has increased from 48% to 65%, and at any given time, another 13% to 15% are enrolled in a program.

Although achieving the goal of having 80% of nurses baccalaureate trained by 2020 isn't specifically tied to funding or reimbursement, Kline said, evidence that a higher level of nursing education is connected to better outcomes was encouraging enough for hospitals to head in that direction.

In 2013, the Clinic moved to have all nurses who join the system sign a contract that they will attain their BSN within five years. While Kavanagh emphasizes the Clinic is appreciative of and welcome nurses who graduated from diploma and associate degree programs, the goal is that they will get a bachelor's degree.

The extra training brings additional skills of leadership, strategic thinking and research that simply cannot be covered in shorter programs, she said. Diploma and associate degree programs prepare nurses at the micro level, but further education to understand the big picture of systems and how teams work together is increasingly important as health care changes.

“We live in a day where there's more to be known than can be known,” Kavanagh said. “We're knowledge workers. We're constantly wanting to be able to supply the resources and the support to our nurses so that they can continue to develop, whether that's with a bachelor's or a master's or a doctorate.”

Summa Health also no longer hires nurses without a BSN. (A few exceptions are made, but the nurse has two years upon employment to attain their BSN.)

“I wanted to make sure that I didn't hire non-BSN nurses into Summa who would be competing with those loyal diploma nurses who were at a stage in life, who weren't going to go back and get their BSN,” said Lanie Ward, Summa's senior vice president and chief nursing officer. “I didn't want new nurses to be in the 20% number of non-BSNs in 2020.”

Summa is well on its way to achieving its goal. At present, 77.4% of its nurses at Summa Akron City and St. Thomas hospitals have a BSN, up from 60% when the report came out in 2010.

Putting patients first

Tracey Motter, associate dean for undergraduate programs at Kent State University's College of Nursing, said she believes all nursing education should be at the baccalaureate level, considering the amount of responsibility and demands on nurses in hospitals today. But she recognizes that that can be challenging, time-consuming and cost-prohibitive for many students who traditionally go the associate's degree route.

“A lot of them choose the (associate's degree in nursing) because it's cheaper and quicker, and that really isn't a good reason when we're looking at patient outcomes,” said Motter.

The RN-to-BSN programs, like the one at Kent State, can be a good fit for those students facing those challenges. She's also seeking grants to help support such students.

Kavanagh of the Clinic emphasized that a bachelor's degree is in no way the end of the line.

“It's really all in the name of increasing quality of care for our patients, increasing the access and the coordination, and all of that requires ongoing and lifelong learning,” she said.
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Topics: BSN, RN-to-BSN, hiring nurses

A Look At The Impact Of IT In Nursing

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Fri, May 29, 2015 @ 09:35 AM

The Nursing profession is in dire need of an IT upgrade. The way the nursing profession currently handles information is costing time, money, patient health and more importantly, lives. Creating an integrated health IT system will address these costs, as well as reducing errors among hospital staff and mistakes with prescriptions both when they are written and when patients obtain them.

To learn more checkout the following infographic, created by the Adventist University of Health Sciences Online RN to BSN program, that illustrates the need, benefit and impact of Health IT in nursing.

ADU BSN Impact of IT in Nursing  resized 600

Topics: BSN, nursing, health, healthcare, RN, nurse, health care, hospital, infographic, IT, health IT, medical staff

Why the World Needs Nurses

Posted by Alycia Sullivan

Wed, Nov 13, 2013 @ 10:56 AM

There are 5.5 million nurses and nurse’s aides in America. That’s 2.6% of the population and yet nursing is still one of the fastest growing occupations. In fact, the country is currently facing a nursing shortage unlike any other before. 

Nursing is essential for a smooth running health care system. Nurses are far from one-trick employees – they perform countless vital tasks in hospitals, nursing homes, schools, and more. The number of nurses on hand (or a lower nurse-to-patient ratio) has been directly related to patient survival and recovery without additional complications.

Some of the most in-demand specializations for nurses include:

  • Forensic Nursing: Nurses who care for patients that were victims of crime. These nurses assist with collecting evidence from their patient’s injuries in order to build a case against the attacker.
  • Infection Control: Nurses who care for patients infected with diseases such as HIV, STDs, or tuberculosis must be specially trained to ensure the contagious disease is not passed along unintentionally to either the nurse themselves or other patients.
  • Management: These days, nurses who can educate or manage other nurses are in high demand. These career-oriented positions typically pay better, sometimes even into the six figures, but do require additional education. Management, education, and advocacy are three essential roles in recruiting more high quality professional nurses to the field.

Nursing isn’t an easy job. Over half of nurses report that stress and frustration plague them daily in their job. However, most nurses also agree that their job is very fulfilling. Very few careers are as directly related to public health and serving the community as nursing. Also, the public is genuinely grateful for nurses. For the last eleven years, nurses have been ranked by Americans as the most trusted profession – a pretty impressive feat.
Currently, there is a shortage of nurses in the workplace. This shortage is caused by a range of reasons, but the main ones are:

  • Baby boomers are aging and require more intensive care
  • The recession forced many people to neglect preventative care or lose their insurance, driving up the demand for health care in the long term
  • Fewer nurses are pursuing bachelor’s degree which would enable them to get the best nursing jobs

The shortage is leading to salary wars (hospitals offering hefty bonuses to new nurses and more). At the end of the day, professional, skilled, and intelligent people are desperately needed in the nursing field in the US and around the world.

whytheworld resized 600Source:

Topics: BSN, occupation, nursing shortage, education, RN, infographic

As demand for nurses increases, so too does the requirement for more education and training

Posted by Alycia Sullivan

Wed, Jun 05, 2013 @ 10:21 AM

describe the image

By Karren L. Johnson

After a nearly 15-year journey — which included raising three children and working full time as a registered nurse -- Terra Brown of Susquehanna Township is just months away from completing her bachelor’s of science degree in nursing.

“It took a lot of hard work but it was worth it,” said the 42-year-old Brown, who works at Penn State Hershey Heart and Vascular Institute in Lower Paxton Township and entered the nursing field with an associate’s degree. “It feels good to know I improved both my knowledge and myself.”

Brown said she wants to teach other nurses and plans to go on to earn a master’s in nursing.

According to a recent survey by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, Brown isn't alone in her pursuit to further her nursing education. The number of students enrolled in baccalaureate degree completion programs — also known as RN to BSN programs — increased by 13.4 percent from 2010 to 2011, the study found. Master’s programs reported a 7.6 percent jump in enrollments in 2011.

For current nurses and those looking to enter the field, the future looks bright. A 26 percent increase in the demand for new nurses is expected between 2010 and 2020, equating to 711,900 new jobs, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“A driving force behind this increase in BSN enrollment is the Institute of Medicine’s “The Future of Nursing” report that calls for the number of nurses who hold BSNs to increase to 80 percent by 2020,” said Betsy Snook, a registered nurse and the CEO of the Pennsylvania State Nursing Association.

“To meet this goal, which will help meet the needs of our growing population and more complex health care environment, there has been a trend among hospitals to require nurses to complete a BSN degree or higher,” Snook said.

While this goal does take a certain amount of initiative from nurses, it isn’t on them alone to achieve, Snook said. It also requires the support from employers and organizations such as PSNA, as well as education institutions, to help nurses achieve a higher level of education and training.

A choice to advance

Armed with a BSN from York College of Pennsylvania, Patricia Himes was excited to begin providing care to people. She joined the staff of a local hospital where she worked as a charge nurse for about six years. While she loved her job, she found herself curious about opportunities for growth.

“I’ve always had an urge to learn more and do more,” said Himes, who had heard there was a growing need for certified nurse practitioners.

As a result, she went back to school while working full time, receiving a master’s degree and her nurse practitioner training from Widener University’s Harrisburg campus.

“We are seeing a very large growth in nurses seeking advanced degrees, particularly as nurse practitioners,” said Geraldine M. Budd, assistant dean in Widener University School of Nursing’s Harrisburg campus. Budd said nurse practitioners provide most of the same services as physicians, making them especially important for practices and hospitals in disadvantaged areas without many physicians.

For now, Himes wants to just continue her overall growth and development while working for PinnacleHealth FamilyCare in Lower Paxton Township. But she said she definitely sees herself getting a doctor of nursing practice down in the future.

Nurses who do get additional training will find themselves in demand.

“With many of the highest trained nurses in the teaching arena reaching retirement age, there is also going to be a real need for qualified nurses to step into roles as nurse educators,” Budd adds.

Enhanced educational programs

Among the BSN to RN programs seeing a surge in enrollment is the one offered by Penn State Harrisburg. The school has seen enrollment increase by 25 percent between 2011 and 2012, said Melissa Snyder, coordinator for the nursing bachelor’s program.

“To best meet the needs of our students, we offer an evening format, a hybrid format, which is a combination of online and face-to-face classes and periodic all-day formats,” Snyder said. “We also ensure that nurses are graduating with solid skills in leadership, critical thinking and research, all things that employers are looking for.”

While enrollment in its BSN programs has increased, Penn State recently announced that it is phasing out all of its associate nursing programs and transitioning them to four-year baccalaureate programs, Snyder said.

Some community colleges are finding other ways to appeal to students who want more than an associate degree. For example, Harrisburg Area Community Collegerecently created a dual admission partnership with Millersville University to keep their graduates competitive and to provide a seamless transition into a bachelor’s program.

“We have always been very clear with our students that an associate degree is not an end point and we encourage they should seek further education,” said Ron Rebuck, director of nursing at HACC’s Harrisburg Campus. “The trend that I’m seeing is that by the time our nursing students graduate, a majority of them are already enrolled in a BSN program.”

Ever since Jeremy Whitmer graduated from high school just over 10 years ago, he has made it his personal mission to advance his nursing career. Despite being deployed to Iraq with the National Guard, he was still able to earn an associate’s degree, as well as a BSN degree thanks to HACC’s dual admission program.

“It was the perfect route for me because it provided a lot of flexibility,” said Whitmer, who is now working in Holy Spirit Hospital’s cardiovascular operating room. “I feel that having a BSN degree has given me many more leadership opportunities, as well as critical thinking and time management skills that I apply to my job every day.”

Support from employers

Having recently applied for magnet status, a designation awarded by the American Nurses Association that denotes nursing excellence, Holy Spirit Health System takes pride in being in full support of helping its nurses reach a higher level of education, said Brenda Brown, director of human resources.

“We know there are a lot of great nurses coming out of associate programs,” Brown said. “When we see such a nurse who exemplifies our values, we will support them in completing their BSN within four years of their hire.”

In addition, Holy Spirit offers a tuition reimbursement and an RN scholarship program, as well as an education loan repayment program. It also pays for all certifications. Currently, 42 percent of the hospital’s nurses either have bachelor’s or master’s degrees in nursing, she said. There are currently 88 nurses enrolled in bachelor’s programs and 27 are working toward their master’s in nursing, she said.

Sherry Kwater, chief nursing officer for the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, said 57 percent of the center’s more than 1,800 nurses have a BSN. She said many have advanced their education while working at the center, which is a magnet facility.

“At Penn State Hershey Medical Center, we have so many specialty patients who require nurses with a body of knowledge around that patient population,” Kwater said. “Education is our mission here, so we migrate towards hiring nurses who are educators or specialists with a focus in a specific area. This also helps raise the skill of the bedside nurse.”

 Himes, the nurse with PinnacleHealth, credits the support from her coworkers for enabling her to grow and gain increased confidence in her field.

“The physicians are very supportive and very willing to teach me how to do things that I’ve never done before or that I’m insecure about,” she said. “I couldn’t be happier about my career path. It’s been a great testament of how the field of nursing is growing and that the opportunities are endless."

Source: The Patriot News

Topics: increase, BSN, Penn State, training, nurse

Nursing School Enrollments are Up

Posted by Alycia Sullivan

Fri, Feb 15, 2013 @ 04:02 PM

Nursing School Enrollments are Up

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) has released a preliminary report on the results of the association’s latest annual survey of U.S. nursing programs. The report shows nurses are advancing their education: Enrollment in all types of professional nursing programs increased in 2012, even though many fully qualified candidates seeking to enter the profession were turned away — 52,212 in all.

Enrollment in entry-level bachelor of science in nursing programs grew 3.5 percent in 2012, but the most notable increase occurred in baccalaureate degree-completion (RN to BSN) programs: a 22.2 percent increase from 2011 to 2012. This marks the 10th year of growth in programs of this type.

The DNP Is Popular
Graduate enrollments also increased significantly. Schools offering master’s programs reported an 8.2 percent increase in enrollments, while schools offering doctoral programs in nursing practice experienced a 19.6 percent jump. Research-focused Ph.D. programs reported a smaller increase, only 1.3 percent, but even at that level, 195 qualified candidates were turned away.

BSN Grads Are Far More Employable
The value of those programs is greater than ever. In a separate survey, AACN collected data showing that employers continue to prefer candidates with at least a baccalaureate degree. For the third consecutive year, AACN reports that BSN graduates are more than twice as likely to have jobs at the time of graduation as graduates entering the workforce in other fields. 

The data also reflect that graduates of entry-level nursing master’s degree programs, which are a popular choice for those transitioning into nursing with degrees in other fields, are more likely to have secured jobs at the time of graduation: 73 percent of candidates with MSNs versus 57 percent of candidates with BSNs. 

Even in a time of widespread nursing shortages, employers still want to hire the best-educated candidates. 

Source: WorkingNurse

Topics: BSN, AACN, U.S. nursing programs, nursing school enrollment increase

5 ways for nurses to stay on the cutting edge

Posted by Wilson Nunnari

Mon, May 14, 2012 @ 08:49 PM

Originally published by the University of Phoenix

1. Join a nursing society.

"Nursing societies provide a wide variety of ways to stay on the cutting edge of our profession," says Kerrie Downing, RN, MSN, campus college chair of the nursing program at the University of Phoenix Minneapolis/St. Paul Campus. Nursing societies can be large and national in scope, such as the American Nurses Association, or small, as regional associations and specialty societies are. These organizations often offer their members access to publications, online discussion boards and a host of other services, which can include career advice, conferences, conflict resolution, even political advocacy.

"It's always great to have someone else within the profession to connect with, and not just be limited by the people in your workplace," Downing says.

2. Volunteer in your profession.

"I advise nurses to get involved in their [profession's] self-governance," says Juanito C. Torres Jr., MSN, a registered nurse who manages the nursing simulation lab at the University of Phoenix Hawaii Campus. This can include unit practice councils at the hospitals where nurses work, or research committees sponsored by nursing societies, among other opportunities. "Nurses need to get involved in these types of committees to be aware of the latest developments and promote best practices," Torres says. Nurses can even get involved in political action; changes in national policy on seat belt laws and public smoking bans, for instance, owe their enactment in large part to nurses.

3. Attend conferences often.

Conferences offer plenty of opportunities to stay current, whether it's an opportunity to network or hear lectures by leading voices in the profession. "If you've been working in the same area for more than two to three years, your skills are probably stale and you need to get up to speed," says Margi Schultz, RN, PhD, who obtained her BSN and MSN degrees from University of Phoenix and is currently a nurse educator. "Conferences offer you a way to get the latest information so you can keep your nursing practice based on the best available evidence."

4. Read nursing journals.

Torres says that top nursing journals such as American Journal of Nursing and Evidence-Based Nursing publish the latest research. Many hospitals subscribe to these and other journals, and societies frequently make them available at a discount to their members.

5. Step out of your comfort zone.

Shultz recommends that nurses shake up their routines a bit in order to gain new skills. "Go to classes, obtain advanced certifications, maybe shadow a nurse in another specialty," she says. "There's no reason to get bored with the same old thing."

Topics: BSN, asian nurse, chinese nurse, nursing, black nurse, health, healthcare, nurse, nurses

No ADN’s by 2020? Institute of Medicine Report on Nursing’s Future

Posted by Pat Magrath

Tue, Apr 03, 2012 @ 09:47 AM

“Working on the front lines of patient care, nurses can play a vital role in helping realize the objectives set forth in the 2010 Affordable Care Act, legislation that represents the broadest health care overhaul since the 1965 creation of the Medicare and Medicaid programs. A number of barriers prevent nurses from being able to respond effectively to rapidly changing health care settings and an evolving health care system. These barriers need to be overcome to ensure that nurses are well-positioned to lead change and advance health.”
80% BSN Nurses by 2020?

One of the most ambitious recommendations in the report is the section on advancement of nursing education. It proposes the goal of transitioning the average 50% of the nursing workforce at the BSN level today to that of 80% of the workforce in the next 10 years. While this is a worthwhile goal, without the funding to pay for the ADN nurses to advance to the BSN level and the increase in pay that such an advance might ordinarily offer in another field, there is little hope of achieving this goal.

It makes no sense to shut down the existing pipeline of ADN nursing programs and requiring BSN as the minimum standard of education for registered nurse (RN). With the predicted nursing shortage, these ADN programs will be the only way we can meet the needs of the aging population and declining nursing workforce. Unless there is a major influx of scholarship funding from public and private sources to encourage nurses to go back to school in droves and provide them the financial incentive to do so, it is unlikely that the 80% goal will be reached by 2020.
Practice Within Full Scope of Nurse Training

One part of the process that met with approval from all of the panelists was the focus on expanding the scope and inclusion of advanced practice nurses nationwide. With health care costs continuing to skyrocket and a lack of needed primary care resources, offering a full provider status to nurse practitioners nationwide is one of the most effective ways to approach the broad primary care gap that exists. When physicians purport that they should be the only primary prescribers and decision makers for all patients, the IOM reports suggests that these objections be treated as anti-competitive practices and price fixing in the health care marketplace.

If you are a nurse, what do you think about shifting the educational percentages to 80% BSN? In some organizations, there is even a push for higher percentages of MSN degrees. What are you seeing where you work?

Topics: BSN, Workforce, employment, education, nurse, nurses, MSN

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