The Journal of Continuing Education in Nursing

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CNE Article 

Motivating Registered Nurses to Return for an Advanced Degree

Joan Insalaco Warren, PhD, RN-BC, NEA-BC; Mary Etta Mills, ScD, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN

Abstract

Master’s-prepared nurses are required as faculty and educators in the hospital setting to meet the increasing demands of today’s health care environment. A non-experimental, descriptive study design was used to examine nurses’ preferences for organizational incentives and rewards that might motivate them to return for an advanced nursing degree. Using findings from this research study, a grant was developed and funded to address the need to both fill expected vacancies in the nursing work force and reduce the clinical nursing instructor shortage through a strategic academia and service partnership. A cohort model and mentorship program to identify nurses and then encourage and assist them in matriculating and completing an advanced degree in nursing was developed. One expected outcome of the proposed collaborative arrangement is to increase the number of registered nurses prepared at the graduate level to create a pool of individuals qualified to serve as clinical instructors, faculty, and preceptors while maintaining their hospital positions. Another expected outcome is to provide a path for nurses to pursue graduate education.

Abstract

Master’s-prepared nurses are required as faculty and educators in the hospital setting to meet the increasing demands of today’s health care environment. A non-experimental, descriptive study design was used to examine nurses’ preferences for organizational incentives and rewards that might motivate them to return for an advanced nursing degree. Using findings from this research study, a grant was developed and funded to address the need to both fill expected vacancies in the nursing work force and reduce the clinical nursing instructor shortage through a strategic academia and service partnership. A cohort model and mentorship program to identify nurses and then encourage and assist them in matriculating and completing an advanced degree in nursing was developed. One expected outcome of the proposed collaborative arrangement is to increase the number of registered nurses prepared at the graduate level to create a pool of individuals qualified to serve as clinical instructors, faculty, and preceptors while maintaining their hospital positions. Another expected outcome is to provide a path for nurses to pursue graduate education.

Dr. Warren is Director, Professional Practice and Research, Franklin Square Hospital Center, Baltimore, Maryland. Dr. Mills is Professor, University of Maryland School of Nursing, Baltimore, Maryland.

The authors disclose that they have no significant financial interests in any product or class of products discussed directly or indirectly in this activity, including research support.

Presented in part at the American Academy of Nursing Annual Meeting, Washington, DC, November 8, 2007; and at the 38th Biennial Convention of the Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing, Indianapolis, Indiana, November 16, 2006.

Dr. Warren thanks her dissertation committee for their support and guidance with this research project. She was named the Julia Hardy, RN/ANF Scholar and was the recipient of a 2003 American Nurses Foundation Grant that was used to support this research. The authors would also like to acknowledge the Maryland Higher Education Commission for providing grant funding to support the Partnership Model implementation.

Address correspondence to Dr. Joan Insalaco Warren, Franklin Square Hospital Center, 9000 Franklin Square Drive, Baltimore, MD 21237.

Advancing nursing education is a must. Master’s-prepared nurses are required in academia and the service setting. With the nursing shortage looming, highly qualified nursing faculty are needed to increase the supply of new nurses. In addition, the acuity and complexity of patients in the acute care hospital setting is increasing. Master’s-prepared nurses in the acute care setting are needed to educate both new nurses and experienced nurses in caring for this ever changing patient population. Hospitals are striving to achieve Magnet recognition status and yet many lack a highly professional, well-educated nursing work force to transform their health care environments. Implementation of practice changes is often difficult because nurses lack knowledge in using evidence-based practice and research methods as a problem-solving approach to achieve positive patient outcomes (Fineout-Overholt, Melnyk, & Schultz, 2005). When all formal education is taken into account, 51.2% of the current registered nurse (RN) work force has less than a 4-year college degree. Of those prepared at the associate degree (AD) level, 20.7% returned to school, and 30.2% of those prepared in diploma programs obtained post-RN nursing or nursing-related degrees (Health Resources and Services Administration, 2004).

The purpose of this article is to describe methods used to increase not only the number of qualified nursing faculty, but also the number of master’s-prepared nurses to educate bedside nurses in the hospital setting and advance professional practice. A study was performed using work motivational theory to examine preferences of hospital-based acute care AD or diploma RNs for organizational incentives and rewards that might motivate them to obtain an advanced nursing degree. Additionally, the intent of this research was to characterize the individual values, abilities, and traits of motivated nurses. Using findings from this study, a grant was developed and funded by the Maryland Higher Education Commission to address the need to both fill expected vacancies in the nursing work force and reduce the clinical nursing instructor shortage through a strategic academia-service partnership.

Research Study

Conceptual Model

The study, which later served as the foundation for the grant, used Porter and Lawler’s (1968) work motivational theory to examine preferences of acute care AD or diploma RNs for organizational incentives and rewards that might motivate them to obtain a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) or higher nursing degree. Although Porter and Lawler’s conceptual framework was comprehensive, it lacked social and psychological variables that may affect an individual’s motivation. These variables were added using the framework proposed by Sussman and Vecchio (1982) to include the concepts of organizational influences and individual characteristics (conceptual model of nursing motivation; Figure). The revised motivational model suggests that organizational incentives and rewards are mediated by individual characteristics (e.g., value, identity, and utility related). These characteristics influence the individual’s motivation to obtain an advanced degree and ultimately determine the final behavior of whether to enroll in an advanced nursing degree program. Perceived effort is defined as the influence of the rewards and incentives on motivating behaviors and reducing barriers. The behavioral intention is the action piece or, for the purpose of this study, the decision by the individual to return to school for a BSN or higher nursing degree.

Conceptual Model of Nursing Motivation.

Figure: Conceptual Model of Nursing Motivation.

Methods

A descriptive, cross-sectional study was performed in Maryland. Permission to use human subjects was obtained through a university Institutional Review Board. Using Aday’s (1996) sampling formula for a cross-sectional (one group) design, with a desired level of precision of 0.05 and assuming a 95% confidence interval, a sample size of 384 was needed. This sample size was also deemed adequate to perform the planned data analyses. Using data from a pilot study, the number of surveys mailed was increased to 1,800 due to issues with inaccuracies within the selected database and a higher than expected non-response rate.

A survey was conducted that included actively licensed AD or diploma nurses in Maryland who were younger than 50 years, working 20 hours or more per week in an acute care hospital, and not currently enrolled in a BSN or higher nursing degree program. Names were randomly selected from the Maryland Board of Nursing (MBON) licensure database. Three mailings, approximately 3 weeks apart, were sent during May and June 2004. Of 1,800 surveys mailed, 552 (31%) responses were received; of these, 297 respondents (54%) were eligible for the study. Of the 255 respondents not included in this analysis, 241 did not meet the eligibility criteria, 9 elected not to participate (returned signed survey with no eligibility criteria data completed to make an assessment), and 5 completed the entire survey but skipped the eligibility criteria. Although the MBON database contained demographics (e.g., education, age, workplace, and setting) and licensure information on all actively licensed RNs working in Maryland, some coverage and sampling error existed with this database. Self-reported data are submitted by nurses at the time of licensure or annually with renewal. Updating demographics is not required for licensure. Demographics are presented in Table 1. When compared with the data from the 2004 National Sample Survey of RNs, respondents between 40 and 50 years old were overrepresented (Human Resources and Services Administration, 2004).

Demographics of the Respondents Versus Registered Nurses Nationally

Table 1: Demographics of the Respondents Versus Registered Nurses Nationally

Instrumentation

Four scales were developed to examine the perceived importance of organizational rewards and incentives in influencing nurses to return for an additional nursing degree. Organizational rewards were defined as favorable outcomes nurses would receive from the organization if they completed a BSN or higher nursing degree. Organizational incentives were items that might reduce barriers or perceived difficulties to returning to school. A list of 10 organizational rewards and 10 incentives was developed from the literature and interviews with nursing leaders.

Variables pertaining to nurses’ individual characteristics, such as professional commitment, career satisfaction, perceived value of a BSN degree, work-family conflict or family-work conflict, barriers to receiving a BSN degree, and demographics, were measured. Professional commitment was measured using a modified version of the shortened organizational commitment survey (Mowday, Steers, & Porter, 1979). The modified instrument replaces the word organization with profession for each item (Vandenberg & Scarpello, 1994). Items were anchored using a 7-point Likert scale (strongly agree to strongly disagree). Internal consistency coefficients reported in the literature for this modified professional commitment scale were 0.73 and 0.70 for two time measures (Vandenberg & Scarpello). For this study, Cronbach’s alpha (0.88) was higher, indicating good internal consistency.

The next measure was the “career satisfaction” scale by Greenhaus, Parasuraman, and Wormley (1990). Items were anchored using a 5-point Likert scale (strongly agree to strongly disagree). Evidence of internal reliability from the literature ranged from 0.83 to 0.89 (Aryee, Chay, & Tan, 1994; Greenhaus et al.), which was similar to Cronbach’s alpha of 0.90 in the current study. The descriptive statistics suggested that the majority of respondents were satisfied with their career (M = 1.88, SD = 0.95), but were less satisfied with income (M = 2.20, SD = 1.14) and goals for advancement (M = 2.24, SD = 1.02).

Characteristics differentiating between the roles of a BSN and an AD or diploma nurse, identified from the literature and by an expert panel, were used to construct a scale to measure the attractiveness and desirability of the BSN role (American Association of Colleges of Nursing, American Organization of Nurse Executives, & National Organization for Associate Degree Nursing, 1995; Goode et al., 2001). A two-factor solution accounting for 64% of the inter-item variance with a Cronbach’s alpha of 0.75 was found. The first factor reflected items surrounding the belief system of the role of the BSN nurse. The second factor was reflective of greater opportunities a BSN nurse might have in the work environment.

The 10-item “work-family and family-work conflict” scale by Netemeyer, Boles, and McMurrian (1996) was used to measure participants’ perceptions of role conflicts and hence their ability to return for a BSN or higher nursing degree. Work-family conflict was defined as the inter-role conflict created by the job’s interfering with performing family-related responsibilities. To the contrary, family-work conflict is created when family interferes with work-related responsibilities. For this study, Cronbach’s alpha for the entire instrument was 0.90 (0.92 for the work-family conflict subscale and 0.90 for the family-work conflict subscale). Respondents reported greater work-family conflict than family-work conflict.

An 8-item list using a 7-point scale (not at all to a very great extent) to assess perceived barriers to returning for an additional nursing degree was developed from several sources (Heller & Sweeney, 2003; Maryland Colleagues in Caring: Regional Collaboratives for Nursing Work-force Development, 2002). An exploratory factor analysis derived a two-factor solution accounting for 69% of the variance using 5 items. The first factor reflected “competing priorities,” a major theme identified by Delaney and Piscopo (2004). Items included time investment, ability to balance school, work, and family, and ability to match work and school hours. The second factor consisted of cost of tuition and family responsibility. These variables appeared to reflect external constraints as barriers.

The dependent variable was defined as the behavioral intent to return for an additional nursing degree if the right combination of rewards and incentives was offered. Behavioral intent was measured by asking participants a series of questions to determine their readiness to pursue a BSN or higher nursing degree. The primary outcome variable was a simple yes or no question regarding the likelihood of returning to school if the right combination of rewards and incentives was offered. In addition, intent was explored by asking participants about when they might return for a degree, their ability to be successful in a BSN or higher nursing degree program, their financial willingness, and the perceived importance of receiving a degree.

Results

Intent to Enroll in a BSN Program

Only 19.4% of the nurses planned to enroll in a nursing degree program, which was fairly consistent with findings from the 2004 National Sample Survey of RNs (Health Resources and Services Administration, 2004). Cross-tabulations demonstrated that motivation to enroll in a BSN or higher degree program if the right combination of rewards and incentives was offered was predictive of nurses’ planning to enroll in an additional nursing degree program, nurses’ planning to continue a career in nursing, and nurses’ willingness to return for a BSN degree if it were a job requirement (Pearson chi-square = 87.12, p = .000). These analyses also suggested that nurses who are undecided about enrolling in a nursing degree program may be motivated by organizational incentives and rewards.

Logistic regression analysis suggested that lower career satisfaction, higher professional commitment, the perception that a BSN offered greater job and promotional opportunities, and organizational incentives were predictive of nurses’ willingness to return for an additional nursing degree (Table 2). Older age, family, and money were cited in the literature as main barriers by nurses to completing a BSN degree (Delaney & Piscopo, 2004). However, the current analysis indicated that these demographics were not significant predictors of enrollment in a program for an additional nursing degree. Age younger than 50 years was one of the study’s criteria. Moreover, neither work-family conflict nor family-work conflict was a significant barrier. Therefore, although nurses may state that these are potential barriers, their influence in the final decision-making process appears to be minimal, suggesting that other factors may be more important in preventing them from returning to school.

Logistic Regression Analysis of Predictors of Nurses’ Returning for an Additional Nursing Degree

Table 2: Logistic Regression Analysis of Predictors of Nurses’ Returning for an Additional Nursing Degree

Preferences for Organizational Incentives

Logistic regression analysis found that offering organizational incentives strongly influenced nurses’ enrollment in a BSN or higher nursing degree program. The nurses ranked the incentives as follows: (1) pay to attend class, (2) classes offered at the work site, (3) tuition reimbursement, (4) match work and class hours, (5) paid sabbatical, (6) forgivable loans for service, and (7) web-based classes (Table 3). Weekends only with benefits, a 36-hour work week, and subsidized child or elder care were removed.

Ranking of Organizational Incentives

Table 3: Ranking of Organizational Incentives

Discussion

Results indicated that nurses who were satisfied with their careers had little, if any, impetus to return for an additional nursing degree. Rewards were not enough to motivate this group to return to school. However, nurses less satisfied with their career goals for income and advancement might perceive the current work environment as stressful and believe that an additional nursing degree will afford them greater opportunities, making them more inclined to enroll in higher degree programs. Findings from this study suggested that offering organizational incentives might motivate a portion of the AD or diploma nurses to return for an advanced nursing degree. However, given the top-ranked incentives, these offerings could prove costly for health care organizations.

Partnership Model

Master’s-prepared nurses are required to promote professional practice in the service setting and to serve as clinical instructors in academia to stem the impending nursing shortage. It was recognized that government, nursing professionals, health care organizations, and employers need to join together to provide the resources necessary to implement innovative programs to motivate nurses to return to school. Using the study findings, a grant was developed and funded by the Maryland Higher Education Commission to address the need to both fill expected vacancies in the nursing work force and reduce the shortage of clinical nursing instructors through a strategic partnership among a university school of nursing, a university medical center, and a community teaching hospital. A cohort model and mentorship program to identify nurses and then to encourage and assist them in matriculating and completing an advanced degree in nursing was developed. A combination of hospital tuition reimbursement and scholarship funds for eligible students is being used as a means of facilitating study.

The specific aim of this proposal was to use shared resources of each hospital and the school of nursing to increase the pool of nurses available as clinical instructors. An additional aim was to develop a path for additional graduate-educated nurses to serve as student nurse preceptors in Maryland by offering online RN-master of science (MS) and BSN-MS programs to cohorts of eligible RN-MS and BSN-MS students at each institution. The result would be 100 master’s-prepared nurses at the end of 5 years. To increase the number of qualified clinical faculty, the curriculum would be enhanced by including course work and instruction in leadership and management and nursing education to prepare students for serving as an institutionally based pool of clinical instructors and preceptors. Clinical content courses would be offered as electives to ensure advanced clinical knowledge in students’ selected areas. Enhancements and development of new online courses for clinically oriented electives would also be added (Table 4).

Components of the Partnership

Table 4: Components of the Partnership

A survey was conducted at the community hospital to identify the number of RNs willing to return to school for graduate study and serve a minimum of 2 years as an institutionally based clinical instructor. Results of a paper and online survey demonstrated that nurses were willing to return to school if resources were provided by the organization to support them. Of those who responded, all were willing to attend school with the understanding that, upon completion, they would be required to serve for a minimum of 2 years as institutionally based clinical instructors or in preceptor roles.

A doctorally prepared assistant professor and two full-time master’s-prepared individuals were requested to serve as institutional program coordinators (one each at the school of nursing, community hospital, and university medical center) and student mentors to retain students in the program. These individuals assume primary responsibility for coordinating and implementing the RN-MS, BSN-MS program in their institutions in collaboration with the school of nursing. Program coordinators mentor students, assess students’ abilities, and identify students requiring tutoring or other forms of assistance (e.g., support with personal or professional needs while in school). To enhance program completion rates, the school of nursing program coordinator offers advice and guides students through their educational experience and career progression. Tutoring funds were also requested as part of this proposal to assist students with learning needs and successful completion of the program.

The student obligation entails serving as an institutionally based clinical instructor for a minimum of 2 years. Students will have a 2-year service obligation and may serve in multiple roles, such as clinical instructors, faculty, or preceptors of undergraduate or master’s entry-level students (clinical nurse leaders). To enhance the program completion rate, a service obligation agreement, written by legal counsel at each institution, was signed by employees prior to enrollment in the program. Once the master’s degree is earned, graduates will receive their regular full-time pay while supporting nursing student clinical education. This will provide higher wages as compared to clinical instructor or faculty positions and new opportunities for these individuals.

Each health care institution is in the process of developing performance standards, which may include clinical ladders with educational requirements, and innovative position descriptions for the new combined practice and faculty roles created as a result of this proposal. Requirements may include serving in mentorship or preceptor roles, serving in expert clinician roles on the unit or as case managers, developing evidence-based practice or research projects, and serving as charge nurses or in other leadership positions.

Program Evaluation

Program evaluation includes the number of nurses who start and successfully complete the program, and a cost-benefit analysis of program outcomes. Data are collected annually regarding number of admissions, progression through the program, and attrition and graduation rates. Direct costs associated with tuition reimbursement and receipt of scholarship funds, tutoring costs, and indirect costs for program coordination and support are analyzed. Data are also collected on current employment status of the students admitted into these programs.

Student Outcomes. As students graduate, the ability of schools of nursing in Maryland to increase enrollments and continued employment of these instructors after the 2-year service obligation will be measured. Hospital organizations will collect data on the number of clinical rotations and preceptorships completed by the institutionally based clinical instructors. Data on clinical rotations and preceptorships will be compared before and after implementation of this role to measure its impact on increasing capacity.

Hospital Outcomes. Hospital organizational outcomes related to this collaborative agreement include increased nurse recruitment and retention, effects on patient care outcomes including number of evidence-based practice or research projects, increased participation on hospital committees, and assumption of leadership roles. A baseline survey was developed to begin capturing these data. This survey is administered to staff nurses enrolled in the program on an annual basis. The goal is to see progression in their involvement with professional practice activities within the organization and an assumption of leadership roles.

Summary

To date, 100 staff nurses have been enrolled in the RN-MS or BSN-MS program. The program coordinators, in collaboration with the school of nursing, have offered numerous educational sessions promoting this program. The program coordinators meet individually with prospective students and guide them through the application process. The school of nursing program coordinator and admissions personnel regularly visit the hospitals to assist with transcript review and the application process and to counsel and register students for classes. Due to the distance of the one hospital from the school of nursing, the hospital program coordinator purchases books and picks up course materials for students. The hospital program coordinators, in addition to the school coordinator, periodically meet with all students to monitor their progress.

Conclusion

Full commitment of health care agencies and schools of nursing with dedicated (i.e., paid) mentors at all sites can identify and motivate nurses to enroll for an advanced degree. Admission, registration, advisement, and instructional support designed to ease transition to the student role are effective. Tuition support and instructional flexibility are major incentives. This study presented data that were used to support a grant to increase the number of master’s-prepared nurses in the acute care setting who could then serve jointly as clinical instructors for schools of nursing. Models like these are essential to support hospitals as they pursue Magnet recognition status and for schools of nursing to increase the supply of nurses and the number of clinical faculty.

References

  • Aday, L. A. (1996). Designing and conducting health surveys. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
  • American Association of Colleges of Nursing, American Organization of Nurse Executives, & National Organization for Associate Degree Nursing. (1995). A model for differentiated practice. Washington, DC: American Association of Colleges of Nursing.
  • Aryee, S., Chay, Y. W. & Tan, H. H. (1994). An examination of the antecedents of subjective career success among a managerial sample in Singapore. Human Relation, 47, 487–509. doi:10.1177/001872679404700502 [CrossRef]
  • Delaney, C. & Piscopo, B. (2004). RN-BSN programs: Associate degree and diploma nurses’ perceptions of the benefits and barriers to returning to school. Journal for Nurses in Staff Development, 20, 157–161. doi:10.1097/00124645-200407000-00001 [CrossRef]
  • Fineout-Overholt, E., Melnyk, B. M. & Schultz, A. (2005). Transforming health care from the inside out: Advancing evidence-based practice in the 21st century. Journal of Professional Nursing, 21, 335–344. doi:10.1016/j.profnurs.2005.10.005 [CrossRef]
  • Goode, C. J., Pinkerton, S. E., McCausland, M. P., Southard, P., Graham, R. & Krsek, C. (2001). Documenting chief nursing officers’ preference for BSN-prepared nurses. Journal of Nursing Administration, 31, 55–59. doi:10.1097/00005110-200102000-00002 [CrossRef]
  • Greenhaus, J. H., Parasuraman, S. & Wormley, W. M. (1990). Effects of race on organizational experiences, job performance, evaluations, and career outcomes. Academy of Management Journal, 33, 64–86. doi:10.2307/256352 [CrossRef]
  • Health Resources and Services Administration. (2004). The registered nurse population: Findings from the 2004 National Sample Survey of Registered Nurses. Retrieved July 24, 2008, from http://bhpr.hrsa.gov/healthworkforce/rnsurvey04
  • Heller, B. R. & Sweeney, D. (2003). Maryland’s nursing shortage: A workforce crisis. Baltimore, MD: Center for Health Workforce Development, University of Maryland.
  • Maryland Colleagues in Caring: Regional Collaboratives for Nursing Workforce Development. (2002). Continuation of nursing education survey: Responses from diploma and associate degree nursing school students. Linthicum, MD: Author.
  • Mowday, R. T., Steers, R. & Porter, L. W. (1979). The measurement of organizational commitment. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 14, 224–247. doi:10.1016/0001-8791(79)90072-1 [CrossRef]
  • Netemeyer, R. G., Boles, J. S. & McMurrian, R. (1996). Development and validation of work-family conflict and family-work conflict scales. Journal of Applied Psychology, 81, 400–410. doi:10.1037/0021-9010.81.4.400 [CrossRef]
  • Porter, L. W. & Lawler, E. E. (1968). Managerial attitudes and performance. Homewood, IL: Richard D. Irwin, Inc., and The Dorsey-Press.
  • Sussman, M. & Vecchio, R. P. (1982). A social influence interpretation of worker motivation. Academy of Management Review, 7, 177–186. doi:10.2307/257295 [CrossRef]
  • Vandenberg, R. J. & Scarpello, V. (1994). A longitudinal assessment of the determinant relationship between employee commitments to the occupation and the organization. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 20, 175–184.

Demographics of the Respondents Versus Registered Nurses Nationally

Characteristic Respondents (%) Registered Nurses Nationallya (%)
Male 5.7 5.8
White 87.8 81.8
Age (yr)
  30–39 20.6 18.4
  40–44 25 14
  45–50 54.4 17.5
Married 72.4 70.5
Dependent child 76.2 42.5
Primary wage earner 63.3

Logistic Regression Analysis of Predictors of Nurses’ Returning for an Additional Nursing Degree

Variable B SE Wald R Odds Ratio (95% Confidence Interval)a
Career satisfaction 0.577 0.200 8.75 0.137* 1.78 (1.21 to 2.61)
Professional commitment 0.302 0.127 5.65 0.101* 1.35 (1.05 to 1.74)
Bachelor of science in nursing offered opportunities 0.285 0.086 11.0 0.158** 1.33 (1.12 to 1.57)
Organizational incentives 0.496 0.103 23.2 0.242** 1.64 (1.34 to 2.01)

Ranking of Organizational Incentives

Item M SD
1. Pay to attend class 5.93 1.88
2. Classes at the work site 5.69 2.01
3. Tuition reimbursement 5.63 2.01
4. Match work and class hours 5.54 2.01
5. Paid sabbatical 5.48 2.12
6. Forgivable loans for service 5.43 2.11
7. Web-based training class 5.34 2.19
8. 36-hour work week 4.52 2.42
9. Weekends only 4.23 2.49
10. Subsidized child or elder care 3.38 2.53

Components of the Partnership

Objective School of Nursing Role Hospital Role
Recruit and enroll associate degree, diploma, or bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) nurses into the registered nurse (RN)-master of science (MS) or BSN-MS program. Market and implement institutional recruitment fairs Transcript review Application information Assistance with program planning Academic resource review Follow up with student inquiries, applications, admission, and enrollment. Pre-register students for course work. Promote offering of RN-BSN and RN-MS programs Newsletters and other marketing materials Hospital intra/Internet sites Staff meetings Nursing orientation Recruitment fairs—provide space and market. Develop a service obligation agreement.
Retain students through mentorship programs to complete program and graduate with their cohort at the master’s-prepared level. Develop job description. Hire full-time program coordinator. Establish regularly scheduled meetings with program specialists Monitor students’ progress Coordinate plans of study Collect and maintain evaluation data Obtain tutoring or other academic resources for students. Ensure online course maintenance and assistance. Develop job description. Hire part-time program specialist. Establish regularly scheduled meetings with individuals and groups of students. Monitor their progress Discuss program plans Mentor and problem solve to support students’ progress Coordinate with schools of nursing to hold on-site pre-registration each semester. Provide administrative support to organize work schedules. Highlight students’ progress; recognize and celebrate graduates.
Prepare students as institutionally based clinical instructors. Implement online curriculum for new combined practice and faculty role. Develop performance standards and position descriptions for the new combined practice and faculty role.
Expand clinical placement capacity of Maryland’s schools of nursing by implementing the role of institutionally based clinical instructors, faculty, or preceptors. Collaborate with schools of nursing to assign graduates to serve in their expanded role. Provide mentorship for new graduates in their expanded role.

Continuing Education

Warren, J. I. & Mills, M. E. (2009). Motivating Registered Nurses to Return for an Advanced Degree. The Journal of Continuing Education in Nursing, 40(5), 200–207.

  1. The offering of incentives by health care organizations can successfully motivate registered nurses to return for advanced degrees.

  2. Professional commitment, lower career satisfaction, and the perception that an advanced degree will provide greater job and promotional opportunities are predictors of nurses’ willingness to enroll in an advanced nursing degree program.

  3. Innovative partnership models and the sharing of resources between health care agencies and schools of nursing may be used to support hospitals in their pursuit of Magnet designation.

  4. Successful completion of advanced degrees by nurses working full-time can be facilitated by mentors, tutoring, tuition support, and academic support and guidance.

 

Authors

Dr. Warren is Director, Professional Practice and Research, Franklin Square Hospital Center, Baltimore, Maryland. Dr. Mills is Professor, University of Maryland School of Nursing, Baltimore, Maryland.

The authors disclose that they have no significant financial interests in any product or class of products discussed directly or indirectly in this activity, including research support.

Presented in part at the American Academy of Nursing Annual Meeting, Washington, DC, November 8, 2007; and at the 38th Biennial Convention of the Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing, Indianapolis, Indiana, November 16, 2006.

Dr. Warren thanks her dissertation committee for their support and guidance with this research project. She was named the Julia Hardy, RN/ANF Scholar and was the recipient of a 2003 American Nurses Foundation Grant that was used to support this research. The authors would also like to acknowledge the Maryland Higher Education Commission for providing grant funding to support the Partnership Model implementation.

Address correspondence to Dr. Joan Insalaco Warren, Franklin Square Hospital Center, 9000 Franklin Square Drive, Baltimore, MD 21237.

10.3928/00220124-20090422-01

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