Tuesday, November 15, 2005
This presentation is part of : Career Development Opportunities
Health Care Organizations Role in Motivating Nurses to Return to School
Joan Insalaco Warren, PhD, RN, BC, Director, Professional Practice and Research, Franklin Square Hospital Center, Baltimore, MD, USA, Mary Etta Mills, ScD, RN, FAAN, CNAA, School of Nursing, University of Maryland, Balitmore, MD, USA, and Bruce R. DeForge, PhD, School of Social Work, University of Maryland, Baltimore, MD, USA.
Learning Objective #1: Identify the best combination of organizational incentives and rewards and nursing characteristics which may motivate AD/Diploma nurses to obtain a BSN of higher nursing degree
Learning Objective #2: Describe nursing leaders and health care organizations' roles in motivating AD/diploma nurses to return to school for an advanced degree

As other health care disciplines increase and standardize their educational requirements, nursing remains behind. Policymakers, private and professional organizations, and Chief Nursing Officers are advocating for nurses to be prepared at the BSN level. Although initiatives are underway by employers research is sparse on organizational incentives and rewards that might motivate nurses to return for an advanced degree. A cross sectional, descriptive mixed-mode survey design (paper and internet) was used to examine nurses' demographics, career satisfaction, professional commitment, work family conflict/family work conflict, barriers to receiving a BSN degree, perceptions of the BSN role, and preferences for organizational incentives and rewards that would motivate them to return to school. Results using logistics regression analysis showed that nurses with lower career satisfaction, higher professional commitment, perception that the BSN role would lead to greater promotional and job opportunities and the offering of organizational incentives would serve as motivators for nurses to return to school. Ranked preference for organizational incentives were: 1) pay to attend class, 2) classes offered at their work site, 3) offering of tuition reimbursement, 4) ability to match work and class hours, 5) offering of a paid sabbatical, 6) offering of forgivable loans for service, and 7) availability of web based classes. Neither pay nor professional advancement appeared to motivate nurses to want to return to school. Conclusions from this study suggested that only very costly innovative incentives programs will shift the educational level of this workforce. Can and should health care organizations assume this financial burden to move this potentially unwilling workforce? Government, nursing professional organizations and employers will need to team together to come to terms on the benefits of educational advancement, skill mix and numbers of BSN nurses required to affect patient outcomes, and then delineate effective strategies to advance nurses' educational levels.