First off in the news this week is a look at how nursing caseload and education levels affect the outcomes for surgical patients. In a study from a broad spectrum of European hospitals in several countries, researchers looked at both the ratio of patients to nurses  and the number of nurses with bachelor’s degrees in PACU units over there. They found that risk of death for post-surgical patients was higher when both the nurse ratio was lower and when there were fewer bachelor’s degree trained nurses present in the unit.

BSN versus ADN Nursing Education

Doctor-Nurse-SmilingAmerican nursing leaders are pointing to this study and saying that this proves a deficiency in diploma and associates degree trained nurses here in the states. I have to disagree with this assessment. While I have nothing to say about the study’s validity to say anything about European nursing care, I think it has nothing to say about U.S. nursing care unless it points to the need for increased nurse staffing levels.

The article points to the widely varied education levels of nurses in the various countries in the study. Norway and Spain had all the nurses trained to bachelor’s degrees while Switzerland had only 10% of the nurses trained to that level. Other countries fell somewhere in between.

No Safety Difference Between ADN and BSN

Similar studies here in the US have shown no significant difference in mortality levels between ADN and Bachelor’s degree trained nurses despite repeated attempts from educators at the bachelor’s degree programs to say so. Pointing to other countries with widely varied nursing education systems is ridiculous and has no place in judging how U.S. nursing care is organized.

I’m curious what you think after you read the article. Shoot me an email with your comments or leave a comment in the article comment links below and let me know what you think.


Make sure you follow-up on the links for this news item and all of the other news and additional resource links from this week’s episode –Scanadu Vital Signs, Reebok Concussion CheckLight and Episode 287.



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