Newest HGH Bachelor of Science Nurses Graduate

Humboldt General Hospital recently honored six nurses who have taken their education to the next level.

Shannon Albisu, Rachel Anderson, Robyn Dunckhorst, Hannah Kohler, Mary Marvel and Monica Sartor recently graduated with their Bachelor of Science in Nursing.

The six registered nurses had already completed their Associate Degree in Nursing and passed the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN).

However, with support from Humboldt General Hospital and their own desires to achieve a higher academic credential, the women all completed their bachelor’s degrees while continuing to work.

Across the country, hospitals are seeking a higher level of education from their nurses. Chief Nursing Officer Darlene Bryan said Humboldt General is encouraging that as well.

Bryan said research shows that more Bachelor of Science and Master of Science nurses equals better patient outcomes.

“Studies have shown that for every 10 percent increase in the proportion of BSN nurses in a hospital’s staff, there is an associated 4 percent decrease in the risk of death,” said Bryan.

Additionally, Bryan said hospital staffs with a higher proportion of BSN- or MSN-prepared nurses demonstrate increased productivity and better patient outcomes.

“A nurse with a BSN may do the same things as an RN,” said Bryan, “but their opportunity to influence patients, other nurses and the profession as a whole is greater.”

That being said, Bryan said she does not wish to downplay the invaluable contributions that associate degree and diploma educated nurses bring to the organization.

“Every person contributes to this organization,” she said, “and we need them and value them for their compassionate, skilled care.”

With the six new graduates, Bryan said there are now 20 BSN graduates among approximately 60 registered nurses at HGH. By 2018, she said 60 percent of nurses will be four-year graduates.

And many are not stopping there. Bryan said in addition to about 10 percent of nurses who currently hold a master’s degree, several of the recent BSN graduates have shared plans to take that next two-year step.

Bryan said HGH's nursing management did a survey among nurses in 2012 to determine what was holding them back from getting their BSN, and 60 percent said it was the cost of returning to school.

“So, in July 2013, HGH introduced a tuition reimbursement program,” said Bryan. “Since that time, 15 RNs have participated in the program, including this year’s graduates.”

Bryan said a realistic goal is to have 80 percent of staff nurses at a BSN level although she said she would love to have 100 percent.

“We realize it is a big commitment in terms of time and effort,” said Bryan, “but it’s what we want for local patient care. We want our nurses to take their skills and knowledge base to that next level.”