Bachelor's degree nurse graduates report better quality and safety educational preparedness than associate degree graduates.
As both frontline staff and health care system leaders, nurses drive diverse safety efforts. In the United States, for over a decade the Quality and Safety Education for Nurses (QSEN) program has endeavored to train student nurses in core safety concepts. Investigators surveyed a nationally representative group of graduating nursing students about their quality and safety knowledge. Nurses graduating from baccalaureate degree programs felt substantially better prepared to conduct quality and safety work when compared to nurses graduating from associate degree programs. From 2007 to 2015, as QSEN spread, gaps grew between nurses educated in the two degree pathways. These findings may explain lower mortality rates at hospitals with a higher proportion of baccalaureate-trained nurses. A past WebM&M commentary discussed how new nurses should be transitioned from an educational environment to provide safe care in real-world practice.