Note: Throughout the year, Nurse.com’s Engaged in Education series will examine issues affecting the future of nursing education.
Healthcare facilities have made progress in implementing recommendations on academic progression from the Institute of Medicines 2010 report on the future of nursing, but there still are obstacles to overcome, according to a study.
As published in the November/December 2013 issue of the Journal of Healthcare Management, Patricia Pittman, PhD, associate professor at the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services in Washington, D.C., and colleagues examined the degree to which healthcare employers have striven to achieve a workforce in which 80% of RNs have a BSN by the year 2020. To achieve the 80% goal, the IOM report suggested health facilities take a series of measures to encourage nurses with an associate degree to complete a BSN.
Pittmans team surveyed 447 nurse executives in hospitals, nurse-led clinics and home and hospice care companies. The researchers found nearly 80% of those surveyed said their institutions preferred or required newly hired RNs to have a bachelors degree. The study also found 94% of facilities offered some level of tuition reimbursement to encourage nurses to continue their educations and complete a BSN.
However, only 25% of employers required nurses to earn a BSN within a period of time, a key part of the IOM recommendation, and only 9% offered a pay differential to nurses who complete a BSN.
If healthcare employers are serious about wanting a more highly educated workforce, the study authors concluded, they will need to adopt stronger measures, such as requirements for degree completion and wages that reward nurses who have worked to get BSNs or advanced degrees.
The likelihood of employers adopting such measures will be determined at least partially by the supply of and demand for nurses in the marketplace, Pittman said in a news release.