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  1. Coto, Jeffrey A. DNP, RN, CCRN
  2. Wilder, Coleen R. PhD
  3. Wynn, Leanna MBA, MSN, RN
  4. Ballard, Maria C. DNP, RN
  5. Webel, Daniel BSN, RN, CRRN
  6. Petkunas, Heather MHA, MSN, RN, NE-BC


OBJECTIVE: To examine if increasing the percentage of nurses with bachelor degrees (BSNs) and/or certified nurses leads to improved patient outcomes, specifically the number of reported falls.


BACKGROUND: Research suggests a link between higher levels of education and expertise and positive patient outcomes, including falls. The Institute of Medicine recommends an increase in BSN nurses.


METHODS: This was a retrospective cross-sectional cohort analysis using data from the National Database of Nursing Quality Indicators from 2010 to 2016 from multiple medical centers in Central and Southern Illinois.


RESULTS: With every 1-unit increase in the percentage of BSN nurses or certified nurses, a reduction in total patient falls per 1000 patient-days can be expected in the amount of 0.02 to 0.04 and 0.01 to 0.03, respectively, all else held constant.


CONCLUSIONS: Improvements to patient outcomes may be optimized with increased percentages of nurses with bachelor degrees and/or certifications.