– Advanced Nursing Degrees Improve Quality of Patient Care and Now It’s a Requirement with Employers –
AURORA, Colo. – October 21, 2015 – Education has always been the key to career advancement in nursing. But now, as hospitals around the country require more advanced degrees and prefer to hire only nurses with BSNs, a nurse’s career depends on advanced education.
“The growing demand for bachelor’s degrees is in response to the increasingly complex healthcare system and the increased role that nurses play. The need for educated nurses with critical thinking skills is more important than ever before to provide better patient care for improved patient outcomes,” says Judy Burckhardt, Ph.D., MAEd, MSN, RN, Professor and Dean, Nursing and Healthcare Programs at American Sentinel University.
In 2010, the Institute of Medicine called for 80 percent of the nursing workforce to have bachelor’s degrees by 2020. This was based on findings that showed hospitals with a higher proportion of BSN nurses scored higher on important indicators of overall quality of care.
This need has resulted in a surge in enrollment of practicing nurses in online RN to BSN (Bachelor of Science, Nursing) programs. Fueled by the growth of online courses and drawn by the prospect of well-paying jobs, enrollment in such programs is almost 90,000, up from fewer than 30,000 a decade ago, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.
American Sentinel University has seen its enrollments increase significantly over the last three years. The University offers a CCNE-accredited, online RN to BSN program designed for registered nurses (newly licensed and veteran healthcare professionals) to increase their knowledge and skills and improve the care that they provide to patients and clients.
“With the current and anticipated economic pressures on the healthcare system, the most valuable nurses are those who have practical experience and the academic preparation needed to be successful in today’s complex healthcare environment. We are already seeing healthcare organizations require their nurses to have a bachelor’s or higher degree in nursing,” says Dr. Burckhardt.
Nurses are also encouraged to earn advanced degrees, such as a master of science in nursing with a specialization in the areas of nursing education, management, executive leadership, infection prevention and control, case management, and informatics.
The American Association of Colleges of Nursing attributes the lack of BSN-prepared nurses to the fact that many baccalaureate programs can’t find enough qualified instructors; schools turn away tens of thousands of qualified applicants every year.
To help solve the need for qualified nurse educators, American Sentinel University designed one of the industry’s first online Doctor of Nursing Practice, (DNP) Educational Leadership Specialization degrees specifically to foster the advanced practice of leadership in the nursing education setting.
“Our DNP, educational leadership specialization program prepares academic nurse leaders to create and deliver new models of teaching and learning to meet the contemporary needs of the nursing workforce,” says Dr. Burckhardt.
As the role of nursing deans and academic program directors of nursing education expands, traditional teaching models do not prepare these professionals with the contemporary executive skills required today, including developing long-range strategic plans, building alliances and executing joint ventures.
“American Sentinel’s DNP, educational leadership specialization provides today’s nursing academic leaders with the skills they need to be effective in transforming nursing education and, in turn, the nursing profession,” adds Dr. Burckhardt. “Our DNP program appeals to nursing deans and academic program directors because a traditional Ph.D. is research-based, not practice-based, and Ed.D. programs may not include the elements unique to nursing education.”
Given the high stakes of a nurse’s job and the influence a nurse has on patient care decisions, nurses with bachelor’s and graduate degrees are better prepared to provide the critical decision-making that patients require. They also become more effective members of the patient care team and will become tomorrow’s nursing leaders.
Learn more about American Sentinel University’s CCNE-accredited online RN to BSN program or online Doctor of Nursing Practice, educational leadership specialization program or call 866.922.5690.
About American Sentinel University
American Sentinel University delivers the competitive advantages of accredited online nursing degree programs in nursing, informatics, MBA Health Care, DNP Executive Leadership and DNP Educational Leadership. Its affordable, flexible bachelor’s and master’s nursing degree programs are accredited by the Commission for the Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). The DNP program is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). The university is accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC). The Accrediting Commission of DEAC is listed by the U.S. Department of Education as a nationally recognized accrediting agency and is a recognized member of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.