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Clinical Systems Leadership

Better Education Leads to Superior Nursing

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The Medical College Admission Test, for students applying to medical school, has recently expanded to reflect the changes occurring in the health care system. Students will be tested for more than 7.5 hours on traditional medical subjects, including chemistry and biology, as well as new questions on critical thinking, psychology, behavior and social inequality, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Dawn Rohrbach, a registered nurse and assistant nurse manager at the Intensive Care Unit at Providence St. Patrick Hospital in Missoula, Montana, argued in the Missoulan that education in these subjects for nurses has become critical to providing patients with the best care as well.

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The importance of education in nursing
There are many paths people could take to become nurses. Some students pursue two-year degrees and then work their way up to being an R.N., while others enroll in a bachelor’s program to get ready to be an R.N.

Rohrbach, who initially only had an associate degree, explained that these paths to nursing may no longer all lead to the same quality of care for patients.

“Until recent years, the necessity of having a BSN in nursing was not clear to me,” Rohrbach wrote in the newspaper. “However, in the ever-changing health care field it has become obvious there is a need for highly educated professionals qualified in critical thinking, leadership and the interpretation of research findings, for example.”

When Rohrbach went back to school for her bachelor’s of science in nursing degree, she learned about subjects she never experienced as a practicing nurse. Rohrbach took courses in experimental science, research practices and health care policy.

More learning leads to improved care
When nurses have more complete educational backgrounds that focus on the science of nursing as well as the details of health care legislation and socioeconomic stressors, they’ll be able to treat patients better. Nurses may be able to identify problems more quickly, figure out underlying issues and help patients improve their lifestyles, possibly preventing other issues.

Rohrbach advised nurses to get their BSN or master’s of science in nursing in order to both improve care with patients as well as be able to better teach other nurses.

“Learning, at any point in one’s career, provides a boost in energy, commitment, confidence and knowledge,” she wrote. “Returning to school as an adult learner, and especially as a student with more than 20 years in the profession, was surprisingly satisfying and energizing. It’s never too late.”

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