Academic journal article Nursing Education Perspectives

Perceived Benefits, Motivators, and Barriers to Advancing Nurse Education: Removing Barriers to Improve Success

Academic journal article Nursing Education Perspectives

Perceived Benefits, Motivators, and Barriers to Advancing Nurse Education: Removing Barriers to Improve Success

Article excerpt


AIMS This study attempted to Identify perceived benefits, motivators, and barriers for registered nurses returning to school for a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) degree.

BACKGROUND Studies link RN education to patient outcomes. The Institute of Medicine recommends that 80 percent of nurses have a BSN by 2020; Magnet status requires an action plan to reach this goal.

METHOD A cross-sectional, investigator-developed anonymous survey was emailed to 1,348 staff RNs.

RESULTS Perceived benefits included expanded knowledge, job opportunities. Motivators included tuition reimbursement, length of program. Barriers included time commitment, expenses for books/supplies. The average time to complete RN-to- BSN education was 2.63 years.

CONCLUSION BSN-in-10 legislation is feasible for RNs to complete. The survey resulted in the provision and dissemination of communication support for RNs returning to school. Further research showed a need to expand awareness among staff. Plans include introducing a blog for nurses returning to school.


Nurse Education--Associate Degree Bachelor of Science in Nursing--BSN-in-10 Magnet Hospitals


As health care providers with 24-hour access to patients, nurses are universally considered to be the frontline of defense against negative outcomes. They are often the key providers involved in emergency interventions that require advanced problem-solving skills, intuition, critical thinking, and in-depth clinical expertise to maintain excellent patient outcomes (Aiken, Clarke, Cheung, Sloane, & Silber, 2003). The Institute of Medicine (IOM, 2011) recommended that by 2020, 80 percent of RNs hold a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) degree. In light of the IOM recommendation and studies linking nurse education to patient outcomes, complex patient care, and Magnet requirements, many nurses are returning to school to complete a BSN degree.

As of 2010, the US Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS) reported that 34 percent of nurses were prepared initially at the BSN level, with 66 percent prepared at the associate degree (AD) or diploma level. AD programs were created in the 1950s and 1960s to quickly fix the nursing shortage, but today, with recent changes in the scope of nursing practice, many hospitals are beginning to select only BSN-trained nurses and are requiring current AD nurses to further their education to acquire the BSN degree (Boyd, 2010). Magnet hospitals typically employ greater numbers of BSN-prepared nurses (American Association of Colleges of Nursing, 2012) and currently require that all nurse managers and nurse leaders hold degrees at the BSN level or higher. For hospitals applying for Magnet designation, plans must be in place to achieve the IOM recommendation (2011) of 80 percent BSN preparation by 2020.

Eighteen states are considering adoption of proposed "BSN-in-10" legislation in order to increase the number of BSN-prepared nurses. This legislation would require newly licensed AD or diploma nurses to earn a BSN within 10 years of initial licensure (Nursing Collaborative 2015 [Nursing], 2011). Noting that many RN-to-BSN programs offer distance learning options, the 10-year deadline is thought to be appropriate (DHHS, 2010). The proposed legislation would not change entry into practice and would provide a four-year lead time to allow nurses currently in school to complete their programs and become exempt from the law. If the program is not completed within the 10-year time frame, a hold would be placed on the nursing license. Nurses who are currently practicing with a diploma or AD degree would be considered exempt, but further education would be encouraged (Nursing, 2011).

Driving many of these recommendations are recent studies regarding patient outcomes and nursing education. Hospitals employing higher percentages of BSN-prepared nurses have shown an associated decrease in morbidity, mortality, and failure-to-rescue rates (Aiken et al. …

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