(HealthDay News) — Since 2004, there has been an increase in the proportion of baccalaureate (bachelor of science in nursing)-prepared registered nurses (BSN RNs) in U.S. acute care hospitals, according to a study published online Oct. 9 in the Journal of Nursing Scholarship.
Chenjuan Ma, Ph.D., from New York University in New York City, and colleagues used data for 2004 to 2013 to examine trends in BSN RNs. The sample included 12,194 unit-years from 2,126 units of six cohorts among 377 hospitals.
The researchers found that from 2004 to 2013 there was an increase in the proportion of BSN RNs in U.S. acute care hospital units from 44 to 57 percent, and from 44 to 51 percent from 2009 to 2013 when combining all cohorts. On average, the proportion of BSN RNs in a unit increased by 1.3 and 1.9 percent annually before 2010 and from 2010 on, respectively. From 2009 to 2013 there was an increase in the percentage of units having at least 80 percent of their nurses with a baccalaureate degree or higher, from 3 to 7 percent. Based on current trends, by 2020, 64 percent of the nurses working in a hospital unit will have a baccalaureate degree and 22 percent of the units will reach the 80 percent goal.
“Given the current trends, it is unlikely that the goal of 80 percent nurses with a baccalaureate degree will be achieved by 2020,” the authors write.