Charting the Course for Nurses' Achievement of Higher Education Levels

This nationally representative sample of newly licensed RNs identifies factors predicting enrollment and advanced degree completion.

Understanding the dynamics of enrollment and completion of an additional degree among nurses with an associate or BS as their pre-RN degree is important to the future of the U.S. health care system.

Logistic regression analysis was performed on data from an ongoing national panel study. The analysis included 1,648 RNs collected via self-report surveys in three waves from 2006 through 2009. Investigating the career trajectories of these newly licensed RNs, the authors examined the characteristics of: (a) RNs with an associate degree as their first degree who continue to a bachelor’s (BS) degree or higher, and (b) RNs with a BS degree as their first degree who continue to a master’s degree or higher.

Many factors including geography, age, race, marital status, and parents’ education levels were found to affect RNs decisions to pursue higher education.

Information about RNs who pursue further education is useful for policy-makers, and educators as long-term strategies are set. The Institute of Medicine set a Future of Nursing goal that by 2020, the nurse workforce would be composed of 80 percent BS-prepared RNs. (Read report)

Browse Contents to read other articles from the RN Work Project.

The RN Work Project

  1. 1. Newly Licensed RNs' Characteristics, Work Attitudes, and Intentions to Work
  2. 2. Addressing the Complexities of Survey Research
  3. 3. A Comparison of Second-Degree Baccalaureate and Traditional-Baccalaureate New Graduate RNs
  4. 4. Understanding New Registered Nurses' Intent to Stay at Their Jobs
  5. 5. The Nursing Career Process from Application Through the First 2 Years of Employment
  6. 6. What Newly Licensed Registered Nurses Have to Say about Their First Experiences
  7. 7. Moving on, Up, or Out
  8. 8. Generational Differences Among Newly Licensed Registered Nurses
  9. 9. New Nurses Views of Quality Improvement Education
  10. 10. Newly Licensed RNs Describe What They Like Best about Being a Nurse
  11. 11. Early Career RNs' Perceptions of Quality Care in the Hospital Setting
  12. 12. Commuting to Work
  13. 13. State Mandatory Overtime Regulations and Newly Licensed Nurses' Mandatory and Voluntary Overtime and Total Work Hours
  14. 14. Work Environment Factors Other Than Staffing Associated with Nurses' Ratings of Patient Care Quality
  15. 15. The Relative Geographic Immobility of New Registered Nurses Calls for New Strategies to Augment that Workforce
  16. 16. Predictors of Actual Turnover in a National Sample of Newly Licensed Registered Nurses Employed in Hospitals
  17. 17. Charting the Course for Nurses' Achievement of Higher Education Levels
  18. 18. Verbal Abuse From Nurse Colleagues and Work Environment of Early Career Registered Nurses
  19. 19. Early-Career Registered Nurses' Participation in Hospital Quality Improvement Activities
  20. 20. Positive Work Environments of Early-Career Registered Nurses and the Correlation with Physician Verbal Abuse

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30% of working RNs will need to obtain a BS degree to meet the IOM goal of 80% BS-degree RNs by 2020.