BMC Health Services Research
Increasing demand for baccalaureate-prepared nurses has led to rapid growth in the number of baccalaureate-granting programs, and to concerns about educational quality and potential effects on productivity of the graduating nursing workforce. We examined the association of individual productivity of a baccalaureate-prepared nurse with the ranking of the degree-granting institution.
For a sample of 691 nurses from general medical-surgical units at a large magnet urban hospital between 6/1/2011–12/31/2011, we conducted multivariate regression analysis of nurse productivity on the ranking of the degree-granting institution, adjusted for age, hospital tenure, gender, and unit-specific effects. Nurse productivity was coded as “top”/“average”/“bottom” based on a computation of individual nurse value-added to patient outcomes. Ranking of the baccalaureate-granting institution was derived from the US News and World Report Best Colleges Rankings’ categorization of the nurse’s institution as the “first tier” or the “second tier”, with diploma or associate degree as the reference category.
Relative to diploma or associate degree nurses, nurses who had attended first-tier universities had three-times the odds of being in the top productivity category (OR = 3.18, p < 0.001), while second-tier education had a non-significant association with productivity (OR = 1.73, p = 0.11). Being in the bottom productivity category was not associated with having a baccalaureate degree or the quality tier.
The productivity boost from a nursing baccalaureate degree depends on the quality of the educational institution. Recognizing differences in educational outcomes, initiatives to build a baccalaureate-educated nursing workforce should be accompanied by improved access to high-quality educational institutions.
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