American Organization of Nurse Executives

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Press Release  

For Immediate Release

AACN Recognizes the American Organization of Nurse Executives with the 2005 BSN Champion Award

WASHINGTON, DC, September 28, 2005 – The Board of Directors of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) is pleased to announce that the American Organization of Nurse Executives (AONE) has been selected to receive the 2005 BSN Champion Award. The AACN Board created this new honor to recognize organizations and practice settings that place a high value on preparing nurses in Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree programs. AONE, the national organization for nurse executives in the practice arena, was selected after releasing a statement in April 2005 which advocates the baccalaureate degree as the appropriate preparation for nurses and calls for working collaboratively with educators to prepare all registered nurses (RNs) in bachelor’s degree programs.

“Nurse executives clearly understand the link between baccalaureate nursing education and quality patient care,” said AACN President Jean E. Bartels. “AONE’s visionary statement in support of the BSN echoes the calls from government authorities, national nursing organizations, health care foundations, Magnet hospitals, and minority nurse advocacy groups for a more highly educated nursing workforce.”

AONE’s statement, titled Practice and Education Partnership for the Future, calls for registered nurses to be educated in baccalaureate programs in an effort to adequately prepare clinicians for their challenging and complex roles. AACN concurs with this assessment and has been a strong advocate for improving patient care through education. Nurses with BSN degrees are well-prepared to meet the demands placed on today's nurse across a variety of settings and are prized for their critical thinking, leadership, case management, and health promotion skills. These clinicians receive an additional layer of education which enhances their professional development, prepares them for a broader scope of practice, and leads to a better understanding of the cultural, political, economic, and social issues that affect patients and influence care delivery.

Currently, only 43 percent of the RN workforce possesses baccalaureate or graduate degrees, with the remaining nurses prepared in associate degree (34 percent) or diploma programs (22 percent). Efforts to enhance the education level of the nursing population are hampered by the fact that very few nurses prepared in associate degree programs continue their education once they begin working. According to the latest survey conducted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, only 16 percent of associate degree-prepared nurses obtain post-RN nursing or nursing related degrees.

“AACN stands ready to work with our colleagues from diploma and associate degree nursing programs to move their graduates to the next level,” added Dr. Bartels. “With hundreds of online degree completion programs in place as well as articulation agreements between programs in almost every state, the nation’s nursing schools are well prepared to facilitate the movement toward a BSN-prepared workforce.”

AACN will present the 2005 BSN Champion Award to AONE President Marilyn A. Bowcutt at its Fall Semiannual Meeting on Sunday, October 23 at 5pm.

For information on AACN’s work to advance the education level of the registered nursing workforce, see the following documents:

  • Position Statement: The Baccalaureate Degree in Nursing as Minimal Preparation for Professional Practice
  • Fact Sheet: The Impact of Education on Nursing Practice
  • Fact Sheet: Articulation Agreements Among Nursing Education Programs
  • Fact Sheet: Degree Completion Programs for Registered Nurses
  • Press Release: AACN Applauds New Study that Confirms Link Between Nursing Education and Patient Mortality Rates

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing is the national voice for university and four-year-college education programs in nursing. Representing more than 585 member schools of nursing at public and private institutions nationwide, AACN's educational, research, governmental advocacy, data collection, publications, and other programs work to establish quality standards for bachelor's- and graduate-degree nursing education, assist deans and directors to implement those standards, influence the nursing profession to improve health care, and promote public support of baccalaureate and graduate nursing education, research, and practice. Web site:



CONTACT: Robert Rosseter
(202) 463-6930, x231