Over the past few decades, practice leaders, researchers, and policymakers have made a conclusion that a higher education makes a significant difference in the nursing practice. The baccalaureate-nursing program incorporates the contents of associate-degree and diploma programs, which make a significant aid for students with inevitably necessary skills in nursing leadership, public health and research among others. The education as such enhances the professional development of different nursing students as hence allows the baccalaureate graduates to understand various social, cultural and economic issues which affect the patients more widely. According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), baccalaureate and graduate nursing programs have significant impacts on the knowledge as well as competencies of the nurse clinician. As a result, this paper outlines the importance of baccalaureate education for the registered nurses.
The Importance of Baccalaureate Education
Since the endorsement of “the essentials of baccalaureate education for professional nursing practice” by the AACN, there has been a dramatic change in the delivery of the healthcare services. In different healthcare organizations, building a safer health system is among their core values. The transformations of the healthcare system to more qualitative, more reliable and cost-effective standards characterize the nature of nursing professionals working in the system hence the need for baccalaureate education for registered nurses (AACN, 2008). The primary concerns in any healthcare system include the nursing outcomes and shortages hence the need to increase the number of baccalaureate-prepared nursing professionals who would, in turn, deliver patient-centered care and hence increase the rate of quality outcomes.
Given the current dynamics of the healthcare systems, professional nurses work in a more diverse environment. There are also increasing advances in areas such as genomics and genetics, which have a vital influence on illness, health conditions, disease prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. Besides, there has often been an increasing globalization of healthcare across the world, especially the cases of international operations and offering health services to people of diverse cultures. Such levels of diversity and advances call employment of professional who have the competencies and capabilities of proving safe and high-quality care (AACN, 2008). Primarily, baccalaureate-prepared nurses provide patient-centered care that addresses the differences that exist in patients, expressed needs for patients, their values and preferences in different healthcare facilities. The centered-care also involves communicating and listening to patients, educating patients and their caregivers on matters of health, disease management, wellness, and prevention. Therefore, Baccalaureate education prepares registered nurses to be in positions of handling such advances in genomics and genetics as well as the dynamics of the health environment through the acquisition of sufficient skills and experience in dealing with such matters.
Baccalaureate education leads to creation of more responsible nursing professionals in the healthcare industry. It develops intellectual and innovative capabilities for the current and emerging registered nurses. The registered nurse as such works with different healthcare teams to deliver the needed outcomes, address issues affecting professional nursing practice, and solve series of problems affecting a certain individual and population-based healthcare system. Additionally, the education helps the nurses to gain more experience with making effective clinical judgments, understand various healthcare policies and standards and their applications and accept different responsibilities in the discipline of nursing.
The education also provides nurses with the knowledge of human culture such as spiritual beliefs, which, in turn, help the nurses, have an inclusive approach to nursing practice when dealing with the different populace. Baccalaureate education fosters the integration of various concepts such as behavioral and biological, which lead to the promotion of self-understanding and the understanding of different situations of people and hence quality care (AACN, 2008). It promotes effective development of cultural competencies and clinical reasoning to registered nurses. What forms the basis of clinical reasoning, in this case, is the integration of different concepts that baccalaureate education provides which lays a foundation for understanding health and disease processes.
Furthermore, the type of education also facilitates intellectual and practical abilities of registered nurses for their nursing practice. Different skills that the education offers to baccalaureate nurses help them to have the abilities to involve different stakeholders in the industry in nursing concerns through an adequate application of information, technologies and collaborations (AACN, 2008). Besides, it also promotes ethical decision-making by the nurses, as it emphasizes the development of personal values, including the abilities to act ethically, while facing series of issues in the delivery of healthcare. Such capabilities help the registered nurses to overcome matters relating in ethical dilemmas in their areas of practice.
Evidence shows that an increase in the number of registered nurses with baccalaureate-degree in hospitals results in a reduction of patient deaths (AACN, 2015). As a result, baccalaureate-degree is important to registered nurses as it fosters adequate attitude for nurses while dealing with different patients, which in turn lowers patients’ mortality levels. In most cases, some patients often have “a substantial survival advantage” when are in hospitals with a higher number of registered nurses with baccalaureate education (AACN, 2015).
Furthermore, baccalaureate education fosters critical thinking and leadership skills as well as facilitates case management and health promotion in nurses. It also helps registered nurses to be in positions where they can carry out their nursing and clinical roles in different environments of outpatient and inpatient settings. Different people and organizations such as nurse executives, leading nursing organizations, federal agencies, health care foundations, minority-nurse advocacy groups, and other hospitals recognize the supreme importance the baccalaureate-prepared nurses provide to the practice settings (AACN, 2015).
Baccalaureate Education for Registered Nurses helps them to acquire practical communication skills. Nurses with baccalaureate training often show effective communication and problem-solving abilities. Besides, they portray higher levels of proficiency in carrying out nursing diagnoses and evaluation of nursing interventions. Notably, a significant number of nurses with associate degrees and diplomas commit higher levels of medical errors and procedural violations ((AACN, 2015). As such, baccalaureate education helps nurses to acquire the relevant competencies in medical and clinical procedures and as a result, reduce the possibility of occurrence of medical errors in the practice settings.
Practice leaders, researchers, and policymakers have shown that higher education makes a significant difference in the nursing practice. The baccalaureate-nursing program incorporates the contents of associate-degree and diploma programs, which facilitate adequate and effective nursing practice. It helps registered nurses to embrace cultural diversity, handle advances in genomics and genetics, reduce medical errors in clinical practice, acquire effective communication skills as well as problem-solving capabilities, increase the quality of outcomes, and intellectual and innovative capabilities among others. As such, it leads to quality of healthcare delivery in health systems.
American Association of Colleges of Nursing. (2008). The Essentials of Baccalaureate Education for Professional Nursing Practice. Retrieved on February, 24, 2017 from http://www.aacn.nche.edu/education-resources/baccessentials08.pdf
American Association of Colleges of Nursing. (2015). Fact sheet: The impact of education on nursing practice. Retrieved on February, 24, 2017 from http://www.aacn.nche.edu/media-relations/fact-sheets/impact-of-education