Recent Study Highlights Need for More Highly Educated Nurses

WGU offers programs, scholarships to increase accessibility of BSN and MSN degrees, which The Lancet found to help decrease hospital deaths

Apr 25, 2014, 11:48 ET from Western Governors University

SALT LAKE CITY, April 25, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In the wake of new research published earlier this year in The Lancet, Western Governors University (WGU),, is preparing for National Nurses Week by highlighting the importance of highly educated nurses.

The February 25, 2014, study examined 420,000 patient records from 300 hospitals across nine European countries and found that more nurses educated at the baccalaureate degree level translated to improved survival rates for patients who experience complications after surgery. Every 10% increase in nurses holding bachelor's degrees in Nursing was associated with a 7% decrease in the likelihood of an inpatient dying within 30 days of admission, according to the report.

"A highly educated nursing workforce is critical to our nation's healthcare, the well-being of American patients, and the success of organizations throughout the healthcare industry," said Jan Jones-Schenk, WGU's Chief Nursing Officer. "This study confirms the importance of RNs returning to school to earn their BSN or MSN degrees."

WGU's online BSN and MSN degree programs were designed to help meet this need by increasing the accessibility of affordable, high-quality higher education for nurses, whose busy lives and unpredictable work schedules are typically ill-fitted for a traditional university program. Additionally, WGU recently created the Nurses Lead the Way Scholarship to help RNs realize the dream of a degree.

WGU's accredited, competency-based degree programs were created for working adults looking to advance their careers in an educational setting that fits with their busy lives. The university uses technology to facilitate education in ways that work for individual learners, allowing them to study, complete assignments, and take assessments on their schedule and at their pace. Competency-based learning allows students to advance through their programs as soon as they're able to demonstrate mastery of the material—competencies that are defined by academic and industry experts to reflect the latest needs of the marketplace. Because WGU charges tuition at a flat rate per term regardless of how many courses are completed, professionals with knowledge and skills from work and previous college experience can often move through their programs more quickly, saving both time and money.

About Western Governors University

Recognized by President Obama as an innovative university that "awards credits based on learning, not seat time," Western Governors University is the only university in the U.S. offering accredited, competency-based bachelor's and master's degree programs at scale. Named one of  Fast Company's "Most Innovative Companies for 2013," WGU has been featured on NPR's "All Things Considered," The NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams, CNN's "Schools of Thought," and in The New York Times.

WGU is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. WGU's Teachers College is the first exclusively online provider of teacher education to receive accreditation for its teacher licensure programs from NCATE, the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education. The WGU bachelor's and master's nursing degree programs are accredited by the Commission for Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE*), and its B.S. in Health Informatics is accredited by CAHIIM (Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education).

WGU was founded in 1997 by 19 U.S. governors led by Utah Governor Mike Leavitt. The university's headquarters is located in Salt Lake City, and more than 3,600 Utahns are currently enrolled at WGU.

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SOURCE Western Governors University