BERLIN – Atlantic General Hospital recently awarded nurses Mary Mullins and Kelly Lund the James G. and Nancy W. Barrett Associate RN to BSN Scholarship. This scholarship was recently added to the Barrett scholarship program to support the hospital’s efforts to increase the number of bachelor’s degree-prepared nurses on staff.
The Institute of Medicine (IOM) has recommended that 80 percent of direct care nurses have a Bachelor of Science (BSN) or higher level degree by the year 2020. With this in mind, the Atlantic General Hospital Professional Nurse Council established a goal to increase the number advance degree prepared nurses by 2% every year until 2020 when the 80 percent benchmark is reached.
Recent studies suggest higher levels of nurse education are linked to better patient outcomes. According to a study published in the Medical Care Journal (October 2014), a 10-percent increase in the BSN workforce reduced the odds of patient mortality by 10.9 percent.
However, there are challenges to building a more educated workforce, including access to advanced nursing education programs in the region and the cost of higher learning.
A hospital survey conducted at Atlantic General Hospital found that 36 percent of AGH nurses identified financial barriers as the reason for not pursuing a higher degree. The Associate RN-BSN Scholarship addresses the financial barrier by offering full tuition assistance and purchase of books to qualifying nursing associates who are pursuing an advanced degree in nursing.
Mullins and Lund both were awarded the RN to BSN scholarship to obtain their bachelor’s degrees.
Mullins, an RN with Atlantic General Hospital for almost two years and previous recipient of the RN scholarship, said “The RN experience was invaluable … I want to continue my education and look ahead toward my future goal of becoming a nurse manager at Atlantic General Hospital.”
Lund has been an RN with Atlantic General Hospital in the Intensive Care Unit for over a year. She adds, “My passion for nursing and drive toward higher education has led me to pursue an advanced degree.”
Both desired to further their education to advance in their nursing careers, but also to stay current with best practices and provide the best possible care to their patients.
Atlantic General Hospital is committed to its nurses and their professional development.
“The James G. and Nancy W. Barrett Scholarship program is a great benefit not only to our associates, but the community as a whole. The number of scholarships awarded is dependent on how well the fund is supported. It is an investment in the caregivers of our community, and we will be continuously working toward developing the fund to support our nurses in their pursuit of higher education,” said Colleen Wareing, vice president patient care services at Atlantic General Hospital
To learn more about the James G. and Nancy W. Barrett Scholarship programs at Atlantic General Hospital please visit http://www.atlanticgeneral.org/scholarships.