Correlation between Nursing Education and Positive Patient Outcomes

Correlation between Nursing Education and Positive Patient Outcomes

Nurses are a critical element in efforts to transform the health care system in the United States. Being the greatest component of America’s healthcare workforce (Thomas, 2018), nurses have a huge impact in as far as transforming the healthcare sector. They possess valuable insights and can collaborate with other professionals to improve the quality of care given to patients. Recognizing this potential and the impact that nurses have on healthcare, the report made by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in partnership with the Institute of Medicine highlighted nursing education as one of the key pillars to better patient care. In other words, having a well-educated nursing workforce translates into improved patient outcomes.

Correlation between nursing education and positive patient outcomes

There are different ways through which nursing education results into better patient outcomes. To begin with, nursing education equips nurses with the knowledge and skills they need to respond to changing needs as well as demands of different populations. In fact, it has been observed that nurses who possess a bachelor of science degree in nursing are better placed and competent enough to address most of the evolving challenges facing healthcare today (Thomas, 2018). Just to mention, the major healthcare challenges for 21st century nurses include an aging population, a rise in the incidence of chronic conditions, and a population that is more diverse, with minority populations projected to grow into the majority group by the year 2042 (Committee on the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Initiative on the Future of Nursing& Institute of Medicine, 2011). With such trends, higher education is needed for nurses to be able to offer patient-centered care that addresses the unique needs as well as demands of individual patients.

Nursing education also helps to improve patient outcomes because education facilitates mastery of advanced technology together with care complexities, thereby enabling nurses to analyze health policies and related information and make vital decisions that help in promoting health equity. Since educated nurses understand the complexities that are involved in patient care, they are in a better position to lobby the government to review health policies so that patient outcomes are improved (Thomas, 2018). Nurses’ role in promoting health equity can be considered an important issue especially going by the report that health discrepancies are among the top challenges facing healthcare today (Committee on the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Initiative on the Future of Nursing& Institute of Medicine, 2011). Empowering nurses through education, therefore, helps to reduce these disparities since nurses can play their advocacy roles better.

Lastly, nursing education improves patient outcomes by participating in research with the aim of identifying ways of doing things better. Thomas (2018) states that doctorate degrees in nurses prepare a team of nurses that have the capability to function as nursing researchers. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (2020, p.1) adds that nurses with a doctoral degree in nursing “are well equipped to fully implement the science developed by nurse researchers”. What this means is that a higher degree in nursing helps to improve patient outcomes by empowering nurses to study and implement findings on how patient care can be improved.

Link between advanced degrees in nursing and patient safety

There exists research evidence supporting the view that nursing education correlates with patient outcomes. For instance, a study done in 2003 revealed that increasing the number of nurses that have Bachelor of Science degree in nursing causes a 5% decrease in risk and incidence of treatment failure and patient death (American Association of Colleges of Nursing, 2020). Research also shows that mortality rate associated to congestive failure is lower in hospitals where there are more registered nurses with baccalaureate degrees (American Association of Colleges of Nursing, 2020). These are just a few examples illustrating the correlation between nursing education and patient outcomes.

Personal Opinion based on Real-life Experiences

I believe in the power of education and its significance to every profession; however, I somewhat disagree with the finding that advanced degrees in nursing automatically translate into improved patient outcomes. My opinion on this issue is that nursing is more of a calling, and that a person’s passion and respect for human life are what drives him/her to give the best care to patients. I have on several occasions been attended to by highly-educated healthcare professionals and the outcomes were not so satisfactory. For example, a reproductive health specialist once made a wrong diagnosis that ended up worsening the complications that I had. I also have witnessed a number of surgical procedures that went wrong, not because the surgeons were not graduates but because they overlooked some important steps.


American Association of Colleges of Nursing. (2020). The impact of education on nursing practice.

Campaign for Action. (n.d.). Transforming nursing education.

Committee on the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Initiative on the Future of Nursing& Institute of Medicine (U.S.). (2011). The future of nursing: Leading change, advancing health. Washington, D.C: National Academies Press.

Thomas, J. (2018). Professional development in nursing. In Grand Canyon University (Ed). Trends in Health Care: A Nursing Perspective. Retrieved from

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