Does a BSN Matter?

Many nurse argue that a BSN doesn’t really matter as a nurse is a nurse is a nurse. I find this argument a bit confusing, because in most professions, education is seen as a good thing. Why wouldn’t education make someone a better nurse? In 1910 the federal government assigned this topic to a commission to determine what sort of education nurses and physicians should have. That commission said over 100 years ago that RN’s should have the same education as similar professions and should go to college to get their education (Flexner, 1910). Aiken, et al (2002, 2012) did a comprehensive research study that showed patient outcomes were significantly improved when nurses had their BSN. This became a standard for Magnet hospitals. It raises an interesting ethical question: Does the fact that you have a friend who doesn’t have a BSN and she’s a good nurse have more value than a comprehensive research study?


Aiken, L. H., Clarke, S. P., Sloane, D. M., Sochalski, J., & Silber, J. H. (2002). Hospital nurse

staffing and patient mortality, nurse burnout, and job dissatisfaction. JAMA, 288(16),


Aiken, L. H., Cimiotti, J. P., Sloane, D. M., Smith, H. L., Flynn, L., & Neff, D. F. (2012). The

Effects of Nurse Staffing and Nurse Education on Patient Deaths in Hospitals With

Different Nurse Work Environments. Journal of Nursing Administration, 42(10),


Flexner, A. (1910). Medical Education in the United States and Canada a Report to the

Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. From

Click to access Carnegie_Flexner_Report.pdf

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