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Can Earning a BSN Help Nurses Improve Patient Outcomes?

Learn how earning your Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) can impact patient care.

Registered nurses (RNs) make a difference in the lives of patients and the health of communities. While you can become an RN without having a bachelor’s degree, those who go on to earn their Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree acquire additional skills in leadership, case management, and health promotion to boost their career—and improve patient outcomes. According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), “There is a growing body of evidence showing that BSN graduates bring unique skills to their work as nursing clinicians and play an important role in the delivery of safe patient care.” Below, we outline some of the findings gathered by AACN that links earning a BSN degree to improved patient outcomes.1

  • In early 2019, a study was featured in The Joint Commission Journal of Quality and Patient Safety that reported baccalaureate-prepared RNs were significantly more prepared than associate degree nurses on 12 out of 16 areas. These areas were related to both quality and safety, including evidence-based practice, data analysis, and project implementation. Through this study, it was concluded that requiring RNs to earn their BSN could help safeguard the quality of patient care.
  • According to findings reported by Dr. Linda Aiken and colleagues in a 2017 issue of BMJ Quality and Safety, “A greater proportion of professional nurses at the bedside is associated with better outcomes for patients and nurses.” Furthermore, it was found that adding personnel without professional nurse qualifications—thereby reducing nursing skill mix—could potentially contribute to preventable deaths, erode care quality, and lead to nurse shortages.
  • Medical Care—the official journal of the Medical Care Section of the American Public Health Association—published a study in October 2014 titled “Economic Evaluation of the 80% Baccalaureate Nurse Workforce Recommendation.” The study presented research conducted by the University of Michigan that identified how “a 10% increase in the proportion of baccalaureate-prepared nurses on hospital units was associated with lowering the odds of patient mortality by 10.9%.” It was also found that increasing the delivery of care by BSNs to 80% would create a drop in readmission rates and shorter lengths of stay.
  • In the March 2013 Health Affairs issue, Ann Kutney-Lee—a nurse researcher—and her colleagues reported that a reduction of 2.12 deaths for every 1,000 patients was attributed to a 10-point increase in the percentage of hospital nurses with a BSN degree. For patients experiencing complications, there was an even greater reduction in deaths linked to a higher percentage of BSN-prepared nurses.

Boost Your Career by Earning Your Nursing Degree at Walden University

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the healthcare industry is projected to experience the fastest annual employment growth in the U.S.,2 which is likely to create a steady rise in the demand for highly qualified nurses. When you earn your bachelor’s in nursing from Walden, you can position yourself to make a difference in the field. With Walden’s CCNE-accredited Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN-BSN) Completion Program, you’ll have access to innovative virtual learning tools, a course-based or competency-based format, and a practice learning experience designed to help you develop the skills and knowledge you need to help create positive outcomes for patients.

Can Earning a BSN Help Nurses Improve Patient Outcomes?

At Walden, an accredited university, you can earn your degree online while you continue to work full time. That means you don’t have to put your career on hold while you work toward your bachelor’s degree. With online education, you can take classes at whatever time of day works best for you as you earn your nursing degree.

Walden University is an accredited institution offering a suite of nursing programs, including a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN-BSN) Completion Program online. Expand your career options and earn your degree using a convenient, flexible learning platform that fits your busy life.


The baccalaureate degree program in nursing (BSN), master’s degree program in nursing (MSN), and Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program at Walden University are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education ( Officially recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education as a national accreditation agency, the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) is an autonomous accrediting agency, contributing to the improvement of the public’s health. CCNE ensures the quality and integrity of baccalaureate, graduate, and residency programs in nursing.

Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission,