WGU offers programs, scholarships to increase accessibility of BSN and MSN degrees, which The Lancet found to help decrease hospital deaths SALT LAKE CITY — In the wake of new research published earlier this year in The Lancet, Western Governors University (WGU), www.wgu.edu, is preparing for National Nurses Week by highlighting the importance of highly educated nurses. The February 25, 2014, study examined 420,000 patient records from 300 hospitals across nine European countries and found that more nurses educated at the baccalaureate degree level translated to improved survival rates for patients who experience complications after surgery. Every 10% increase in nurses holding bachelor’s degrees in Nursing was associated with a 7% decrease in the likelihood of an inpatient dying within 30 days of admission, according to the report. “A highly educated nursing workforce is critical to our nation’s healthcare, the well-being of American patients, and the success of organizations throughout the healthcare industry,” said Jan Jones-Schenk, WGU’s Chief Nursing Officer. “This study confirms the importance of RNs returning to school to earn their BSN or MSN degrees.” WGU’s online BSN and MSN degree programs were designed to help meet this need by increasing the accessibility of affordable, high-quality higher education for nurses, whose busy lives and unpredictable work schedules are typically ill-fitted for a traditional university program. Additionally, WGU recently created the Nurses Lead the Way Scholarship to help RNs realize the dream of a degree. WGU’s accredited, competency-based degree programs were created for working adults looking to advance their careers in an educational setting that fits with their busy lives. The university uses technology to facilitate education in ways that work for individual learners, allowing them to study, complete assignments, and take assessments on their schedule and at their pace. Competency-based learning allows students to advance through their programs as soon as they’re able to demonstrate mastery of the material—competencies that are defined by academic and industry experts to reflect the latest needs of the marketplace. Because WGU charges tuition at a flat rate per term regardless of how many courses are completed, professionals with knowledge and skills from work and previous college experience can often move through their programs more quickly, saving both time and money.