BSN prepared nurses connected to fewer patient deaths

When hospitals hire more nurses with four-year degrees, patient deaths following common surgeries decrease, according to new research by the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing's Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research as reported in the March issue of the prestigious policy journal Health Affairs. Less than half the nation's nurses (45%) have baccalaureate degrees, according to the most recent data available (2008).

If all 134 Pennsylvania hospitals involved in the study had increased the percentage of their nurses with four-year degrees by 10 percentage points, the lives of about 500 who had undergone general, vascular, or orthopedic surgery might have been saved, the researchers found.

Specifically, a ten percentage point increase, say from 30 to 40 percent, in the overall percentage of BSN-prepared nurses in the hospitals studied between 1999 to 2006 saved about 2 lives for each 1,000 patients treated on average, according to lead author Penn Nursing professor Ann Kutney-Lee, PhD, RN, who is also a senior fellow at the Leonard Davis Institute of . The researchers surveyed 42,000 (RN) in Pennsylvania in 1999 and 25,000 in 20006.

Currently, RNs have obtained a four-year (baccalaureate degree), a two-year (associate's) degree, or graduated from a hospital-based diploma school. Licensed practical nurses (LPN) also practice at the bedside with a one-year degree.

"This adds to the importance of public policies to help direct a substantial shift toward the production of nurses with baccalaureates in nursing," said Kutney-Lee, noting that a recent report from the Institute of Medicine recommends that 80 percent of nurses hold at least a baccalaureate degree by 2020. "Nursing is both high-touch and high-tech requiring honed critical thinking skills in our complicated healthcare system."

While the study did not pinpoint why more patients survive surgeries, previous work in the Center found that better-prepared nurses offer higher levels of surveillance of patients, noticing subtle shifts in their patients' conditions that can lead to death from complications while there was still time to intervene. "As part of their practice, 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," noted Kutney-Lee.

More information: content.healthaffairs.org/cont… nt/32/3/579.abstract

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Better together - The RN and the EHR

Jan 17, 2012

With the prodding of new federal legislation, electronic health records (EHRs) are rapidly becoming part of the daily practice of hospital nurses – the frontline providers of care. In the first large study of its kind, ...

Hospital nurses dissatisfied with health benefits

Feb 14, 2011

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have found that nearly 41 per cent of nurses working in American hospitals and health-care settings were dissatisfied with their health-care benefits. The figure is more than ...

Long shifts lead to nurse burnout and dissatisfied patients

Nov 06, 2012

Extended work shifts of twelve hours or longer are common and popular among hospital staff nurses, but a new study reports that nurses working longer shifts were more likely to experience burnout, job dissatisfaction, and ...

To keep nurses, improve their work environments

Dec 08, 2011

Nurses working in hospitals around the world are reporting they are burned out and dissatisfied with their jobs, reported researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing's Center for Health Outcomes and Policy ...

Recommended for you

Can YouTube save your life?

20 hours ago

Only a handful of CPR and basic life support (BLS) videos available on YouTube provide instructions which are consistent with recent health guidelines, according to a new study published in Emergency Medicine Australasia, the jo ...

Doctors frequently experience ethical dilemmas

21 hours ago

(HealthDay)—For physicians trying to balance various financial and time pressures, ethical dilemmas are common, according to an article published Aug. 7 in Medical Economics.

AMGA: Physician turnover still high in 2013

21 hours ago

(HealthDay)—For the second year running, physician turnover remains at the highest rate since 2005, according to a report published by the American Medical Group Association (AMGA).

Obese or overweight teens more likely to become smokers

22 hours ago

A study examining whether overweight or obese teens are at higher risk for substance abuse finds both good and bad news: weight status has no correlation with alcohol or marijuana use but is linked to regular ...

User comments