Like the famous activist Marian Wright Edelman once said, “Education is for improving
the lives of others and for leaving your community and world better than you found it.”
Education is important because it is the process through which we achieve skill, values and
knowledge to apply to our professions. Education is important in nursing because it helps instill
knowledge and skills that help nurses in their duties and functions such as patient care. In the
United States, nursing education is compulsory and as a result, practicing nurses often acquire an
associate degrees. However, better patient outcomes are associated with a bachelor’s degrees.
Additionally, nurses with a bachelor’s degree are more likely to advance in their careers than
nurses with an associate degree. Apart from helping nurses advance their careers, bachelor’s
degree also help hospital run better by saving money through efficiency. I recommend that
nurses acquire a bachelor’s degree and higher because advanced education helps in career
advancement, increases positive patient outcomes and helps in the effective running of hospitals.
Bachelor’s nursing education and higher helps nurses to perform better at their jobs. In a
cross-sectional study conducted for a period of 18 years, it was found out that nurses who
acquired bachelor’s degrees had a higher chance of getting promoted (Sheikhi et al. 1). The study
concluded that paired with interpersonal skills, an advanced education in nursing has a high
possibility of ensuring that a nurse gets promoted in their job (Sheikhi et al. 1). One of the
reasons why nurses with a higher education get promoted is because they have higher skills that
those with diplomas and associate degrees. To acquire a bachelor’s degree in nursing or higher,
nurses take complex and advance courses that make them perform better at their jobs.
Additionally, in pursuit of a bachelor’s degree, a nurse is able to acquire new knowledge in her
field that is vital to performing better at the job.
Many nurses pursue baccalaureate education with their eye on a move to an elite hospital
or to acquire a leadership role in their current organization. Some health care organizations
encourage education with and sometimes even help in the financing of their nurses to achieve
higher degrees. However, in some cases, a baccalaureate education is not about advancing in
one’s career but about acquiring a job. When the economy is tough and jobs are harder to get,
many health care organizations take that opportunity to increase the number of nurses with a
baccalaureate level education (Kamanyire and Susan 11). Therefore, for new hires, a
baccalaureate education might not be so much about climbing the career ladder but about getting
hired in a competitive job market (Committee on the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Initiative
8). Moreover, with a baccalaureate education, also comes a higher pay grade.
Another reason to why nurses should pursue a BSN is because it provides a platform for
graduate education and to enter advanced practice. When a nurse acquires a BSN, they are more
likely to seek a MSN. Higher education comes with the benefits of advanced salary and job
promotion, all which are motivation to continue pursuing higher education. With higher
education, nurses are now taking over roles that were traditionally performed by doctors
(Committee on the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Initiative 8). There are even programs that
allow nurses to move from AND to MSN, even though these programs are few, they allow for
nurses to advance in their careers.
Apart from allowing nurses to advance in their careers and education, baccalaureate
education for also has a positive impact on patient outcomes. In a study, it was found out that
10% more bachelor’s degree nurses decrease in-patient mortality in a hospital (Aiken et al.1050).
In the study, data from 665 hospital was assessed and a random sample of 39,038 hospital nurses
used (Aiken et al. 1047). Nurses with higher education have the capability to reduce in-patient
mortality because they use their advanced skills to provide better care. With better care and
better analytical skills than their colleges with lower education, nurses with baccalaureate
education are able to better attend to patients and reduce mortality rates.
Another study found out that nurses with baccalaureate had lower congestive heart failure
mortality, failure to rescue, short length of stay and decubitus ulcers (Blegen et al. 2). Nurses
with a baccalaureate education were able to provide better care to patients with congestive heart
failure, preventing death. Additionally, in the study it was found out that nurses with
baccalaureate education reduced the length of stay of patients in hospitals. Nurses with advanced
education have taken advanced courses that allow them to provided better care. In some cases,
they are even allowed to take on roles that were traditionally reserved for doctors. As a result,
they are able to provide safe and quality care to their patients. Another evidence that higher
education helps to improve patient outcomes is nurses with baccalaureate education had a low
failure to rescue rate than those with a lower education (Blegen et al. 2). Therefore, it is safe to
say that baccalaureate education helps to improve patient outcomes through better and advanced
care for the patient.
Another benefit of advanced education among nurses is that they create efficiencies with
a hospital. In one study, it was found out that nurses with baccalaureate degrees had fewer
incidences of medical errors (Committee on the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Initiative 17).
Due to their advanced knowledge and skills, nurses with baccalaureate education are able to
avoid making any medical errors. Fewer medical errors for a health care organization also means
fewer law suits and few compensations. Medical errors have exposed health care organizations to
law suits which are expensive. In some cases, a health care organization has to compensate the
victim with a lump sum. Therefore, in a way, having nurses with advanced education creates
efficiencies that in turn reduce the amount of money spent on law suits and compensation. Even
without settling law suits, by eliminating medical errors, nurses with advanced education create
efficiencies by ensuring the right patient gets the right dosage. Additionally, with fewer medical
errors, hospitals do not lose money to procedures associated with medical errors (Spetz and
Additionally, nurses with advanced education save hospitals money by reducing hospital
readmission. Under certain conditions, hospital readmission fee is reduced. For example, if a
patient is readmitted at the same hospital within 30 days of hospital discharge, the hospital is not
compensated fully for the readmission (“Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program”). This
policy is meant to prevent health care institutions from taking financial advantage of patients.
Therefore, when a patient gets readmitted soon after discharge, the health care institution covers
part of their bill. Having nurses with baccalaureate education reduces instances of hospital
readmission (Potera 5). As aforementioned, nurses with baccalaureate education are responsible
for improving patient outcomes including reducing readmission rates. By reducing the rate of
readmission, nurses with advanced education reduce hospital expenditure, saving the hospital
It is evident that advanced education for nurses helps in career advancement, increases
positive patient outcomes and helps in the effective running of hospitals. Nurses with a
baccalaureate education have a higher chance of getting promoted at work for their higher skills.
Nurses with baccalaureate education get opportunities to work in leadership positions and
sometimes even take over roles traditionally reserved for doctors. Additionally, moving up the
career ladder comes with a higher pay. Another benefit of advanced education is that it creates a
foundation for nurses to continue furthering their education. Apart from helping nurses advance
in their careers and advanced education also helps in improving the outcomes of patients. Using
their advanced skills and knowledge acquired during the course of their higher education, nurses
with baccalaureate education provide safer and better quality care than their counterparts with
lower education. Improved outcomes also reduce the mortality rate of patients. Finally, nurses
with baccalaureate create efficiencies and save hospitals money by reducing hospital readmission
and medical error rates.
Aiken, Linda H et al. “Effects of nurse staffing and nurse education on patient deaths in hospitals
with different nurse work environments.” Medical care vol. 49,12 (2011): 1047-53.
Blegen, Mary A et al. “Baccalaureate education in nursing and patient outcomes.” The Journal of
Nursing Administration vol. 43, no. 2, 2013 DOI: 10.1097/NNA.0b013e31827f2028
Committee on the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Initiative on the Future of Nursing, at the
Institute of Medicine, & Institute of Medicine. The Future of Nursing: Leading Change,
Advancing Health. , 2014. Online Text.
“Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program (HRRP)”. CMS.Gov.
accesses Nov 21, 2019
Kamanyire, Joy K, and Susan Achora. “A Call for More Diploma Nurses to Attain a
Baccalaureate Degree: Advancing the nursing profession in Oman.” Sultan Qaboos
University medical journal vol. 15,3 (2015): e322-6. doi:10.18295/squmj.2015.15.03.004
Potera, Carol. “Bachelor's degrees not only save lives, they save hospitals money.” American
Journal of Nursing, vol. 115, no. 2, 1-14 doi: 10.1097/01.NAJ.0000460668.95532.82
Sheikhi, Mohammad Reza et al. “Skills Required for Nursing Career Advancement: A
Qualitative Study.” Nursing and midwifery studies vol. 5,2 e30777. 21 May. 2016,
Spetz, Joanne, and Timothy Bates. “Is a baccalaureate in nursing worth it? The return to
education, 2000-2008.” Health services research vol. 48,6 Pt 1 (2013): 1859-78.