Heart patients have better outcomes when nurses have bachelor's degrees, study finds

Patients who experience in-hospital cardiac arrest have a better chance of surviving when more hospital nurses have a Bachelor of Science in nursing, according to a study published this month in Health Affairs.

To conduct the study, researchers used data on 11,123 patients at 36 hospitals in California, Florida, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, all of whom participated in three surveys and registries: the American Heart Association's Get With the Guidelines-Resuscitation Registry for 2013-18, RN4CAST-US hospital nurse surveys for 2015-16 and the American Hospital Association for 2015. Thirty-three to 86 percent of nurses at hospitals in the datasets had BSNs, with a mean of 61 percent.

The researchers found patients who experienced in-hospital cardiac arrest had a 24 percent greater chance of survival to discharge with each 10 percentage-point increase in the hospital's share of nurses with a BSN.

The study supports growing evidence that higher numbers of BSNs among nursing staff lead to better patient outcomes. 

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