by Rebecca H. Le, PhD., MSN, RN, IBCLC
The world of the practicing nurse has been changing and is constantly revolving based on patient and community needs. These changes have initiated conversations among healthcare providers at the practice and research level.
Based on research outcomes and the diverse needs of patient populations, the Institute of Medicine (now the National Academy of Medicine) has initiated a goal that at least 80 percent of the American nursing workforce will be prepared at the baccalaureate level by 2020 (as cited in AACN, 2019a).
The AACN (American Association of Colleges of Nursing) has recently published a press release addressing these conversations and is calling for movement toward a highly educated nursing workforce (AACN, 2019b).
The Regent School of Nursing has embraced this demand by creating cutting-edge curriculum that meets the professional and accreditation standards of the practice of nursing at the bachelor’s and graduate levels.
Your Commitment to Excellence as a Nurse Comes With Benefits
The complex needs of our patient’s health, demands a complex critical thinking provider. Although continuing your education may seem like a tasking job, the benefits outweigh the temporary sacrifice of your time. After all, isn’t our ultimate goal as a nurse to remain competitive in our knowledge, skills, and attitudes?
Based on current needs and analysis, registered nurses must be prepared to provide “high quality direct care, complex clinical decision making, care transition management, supervision of support personnel, guidance of patients through the maze of healthcare resources, and education to patients on treatment regimens and the adoption of health lifestyles” (AACN, 2019a, para. 2).
These are a few examples of the advanced care that Registered Nurses should remain competent in, in every healthcare setting. The Regent School of Nursing Curriculum will help you obtain these advanced knowledge, skills, and attitudes.
If you’re not convinced yet, let’s take a look at what the evidence says about nurses who continue their education with degrees in nursing.
Nurses with baccalaureate and higher degrees have a positive impact on patient outcomes. This includes lower mortality rates and fewer medication errors. If you don’t believe me, look at the AACN Position Statement “Academic Progression in Nursing: Moving Together toward a Highly Educated Nursing Workforce” (AACN, 2019a). Table One outlines thirteen research studies documenting these facts.
The benefit of nurses obtaining baccalaureate and higher degrees is limitless for not only the nurse, but the patient and the workforce.
If you view being a nurse as your vocation, then you will want to provide the best possible care to your patient, while providing quality evidence based nursing care. Basically it comes down to your love of nursing, your calling to be a lifelong learner, and your ability to advance in your career.
My Personal Journey
I have always been passionate about education and the impact that it can make in people’s lives. I began this passion in women’s health education by teaching childbirth classes as well as classes on parenting, breastfeeding, sexually transmitted infections, and eating disorders.
My teaching career began by being a community health educator for a rural hospital facility in Oklahoma. I loved seeing the difference that my classes made on people’s lives and the health decisions that people made to improve their lifestyles. This included the health and well-being of their infant and child.
When a teaching opportunity became available at a local Christian university, I jumped at the opportunity to share my passion and to mentor young students. I learned along the way to begin viewing things from a systems perspective. I also enjoyed frequent mission trips where my impact in healthcare clinics and education expanded. All of these experienced intertwined as I began to take on administrative duties within the nursing school. As I have grown in these various roles, I have enjoyed the process. None of this would have been possible without my BSN, MSN, and ultimately the PhD in nursing.
Trust me, the degrees have been worth it.
Not only do our patients and communities benefit by nurses obtaining degrees, our roles and our future as nurses will expand. As a matter of fact, the AACN stated, “Nurses with graduate-level preparation are needed to provide high-quality care; conduct research; teach online, across clinical settings, and classroom; shape public policy; lead health systems; consult with corporations; and implement evidence-based solutions that revolutionize health care. These providers are in great demand to fill established and emerging roles that allow nurses to focus on a variety of practice areas, such as geriatrics, pediatrics, public health, informatics, systems improvement, and genetics/genomics” (AACN, 2019a, para 4).
Do you have an interest in any of these areas?
My Top 3 Surprising Benefits of Obtaining Higher Degrees in Nursing
- Flexibility for Family Needs: I absolutely love the flexibility that has come with teaching in nursing. Because classes are typically spread throughout the week or online, there are gaps in time where I can attend school events or schedule doctors’ appointments.
- No Holidays: Since I took a full-time job teaching in academia over 12 years ago, I have never had to work a holiday. These moments have been precious with my children. I am grateful to experience every trick or treat, Easter egg hunt, and Christmas gift exchange with my family. As a faculty member, we get extra time at Christmas and all of the major holidays off. Summer flexibility is also a blessing for a working mom.
- No On-Call Schedules: I am a team player, and don’t mind picking up extra shifts during emergencies, but, for me, being on call every month affected family time and personal stress level. As a faculty member, I will never have to be on call for hospital shifts again.
The fact of the matter is that God’s plan was for me to be a nurse. Not only was His plan for me to help mothers, fathers, and babies, but to achieve a higher level of competence and calling globally. His plan also offered me the best possible situation for flexibility in balancing my home life. None of this would have been possible without the advanced degrees.
My question for you is what is God calling you to do in nursing?
Regent University School of Nursing would love to get to know your personal goals and help you achieve them. We can give you all of the tools you need to help you succeed.
Has God called you to more? If so, then what are you waiting for? Give us a call at the Regent University School of Nursing: 757.352.5919 or visit us online and request information.
Dr. Rebecca Le is an Associate Professor of Nursing in the College of Healthcare Sciences at Regent University.
American Association of Colleges of Nurses (2019a). Academic Progression in Nursing: Moving Together a Highly Educated Nursing Workforce. Retrieved from https://www.magnetmail.net/actions/email_web_version.cfm?ep=JYCV671CZ2Sag5eSgYEHoXttNGK9f01gWBWeSMoB3bWdEtVlvTXF3PDLDIKo6sXDEliQCxCHSyP0-rKDH-4uhb4I_WLQRjeuWaTL0-u8UwDqM5SCjWeSpxZLh1DIZOxE
American Association of Colleges of Nurses (2019b). U.S. Nursing Schools Call for Collaborative Action to Raise the Education Level of the Nursing Workforce. [Press Release]. Retrieved from https://www.aacnnursing.org/News-Information/Position-Statements-White-Papers/Academic-Progression-in-Nursing