A new interdisciplinary study, published in the current issue of Medical Care and funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Interdisciplinary Nursing Quality Research Initiative, finds that increasing the proportion of BSN-prepared nurses in a hospital to 80% or more as suggested by the Institute of Medicine report, The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health and having those nurses interact most with patients improves outcomes on several measures and reduces costs, according to a news release.
The research team found patients who received 80% or more of their care from BSN-prepared nurses had 18.7% lower odds of readmission, and 1.9% shorter lengths of stay. They also found that a 10% increase in the proportion of BSN-educated care was associated with a 10% reduction in the odds of mortality.
The savings realized by having more BSN-educated nurses outweighed the cost of paying those nurses a higher salary, according to the release. The team estimated that increasing the proportion of BSN-prepared nurses caring for each patient to 80% or more would reduce annual readmissions by about 248 days, reducing costs by $5,653,022.97 annually. The cost associated with salaries for a larger group of BSN-prepared nurses was estimated to be $1,843,266.46 for the nurses included in the study.
The real contribution of this study is that when we looked at patients in the same hospital, who were hospitalized on the same unit with the same diagnosis, patients who received more than 80 percent of nursing care from BSN-educated nurses tended to do better despite often being sicker at the time of admission, Olga Yakusheva, PhD, associate professor at the University of Michigan School of Nursing and one of the lead researchers, said in the release. These patients tended to spend less time in the hospital, fewer of them had to go back to the hospital after discharge, and fewer of them died. This makes you think, really, how can we give all of our patients an equal opportunity to receive high-quality care they deserve? The answer is, or at least seems to be, in investing in nurse education. And our study shows that these investments can also have real cost-saving effects in the long term.
The study included analysis of electronic data on 8,526 patients who received care form 1,477 nurses in an academic medical center from June 1 to Dec. 31, 2011. One-fifth of the patients received 80% or more of their care from BSN-prepared nurses.
To learn more, visit www.INQRI.org.