GHS to transform education requirements for nursing

Effective July 1, Greenville Health System will begin requiring a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree for a number of nursing jobs in the acute care setting. This decision is part of a national movement to prepare nurses to meet the increased demand for care created by healthcare reform and to position them to help make improvements to the nation’s increasingly complex healthcare system.

“Nurses make up the single largest segment of the healthcare workforce and spend more time delivering patient care than any other healthcare profession,” said Michelle Taylor-Smith, vice president of patient care services and chief nursing officer at GHS. “Nursing’s unique ability to meet patient needs at the bedside and beyond puts us in a critical position to transform health care.”

Research conducted by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) in partnership with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Initiative on the Future of Nursing states that a richer mix of BSN-prepared nurses leads to better patient outcomes. A more educated workforce is also better equipped to meet the demands of the changing healthcare environment. As a result, the IOM recommends that 80 percent of nurses hold a bachelor’s degree by 2020.

GHS employs 3,558 registered nurses. On or after July 1, the organization anticipates 300 nurses will be required to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) stating that they will return to school and obtain an accredited BSN degree within four years. New nursing hires without a BSN degree will also be required to sign a MOU if they accept a position in which a BSN degree is required.

GHS already provides tuition assistance to full- and part-time employees. The same assistance will be available to those who want or are required to obtain a BSN degree.

“We have a unique opportunity before us, and I am confident that the nursing profession as a whole will continue to advance and evolve as it always has to ensure the delivery of safe, quality, patient-centered care,” said Taylor-Smith.

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