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College of Nursing

South Carolina Hospitals Aiming for Higher Educated Registered Nurse Workforce


The Office of Healthcare Workforce Research for Nursing at the USC College of Nursing, along with our partner, Office for Healthcare Workforce Analysis and Planning in the South Carolina AHEC program office, recently completed a study of the nursing workforce in our South Carolina hospitals.  Eighty percent of the 60 eligible hospitals participated. The full study report, titled The Hospital Nursing Workforce in South Carolina: 2015, can be found on the Office of Healthcare Workforce Research for Nursing website.

  • Approximately half (49%) of the nursing workforce in the larger hospitals (over 300 beds) in South Carolina have a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree or higher, with the majority of these hospitals aiming to have at least 80% of the nursing workforce BSN or higher.
  • Hospitals in the Low Country and Upstate regions are more likely to require that newly hired RNs complete a BSN degree within a specific time period than hospitals in other regions of the state.
  • The majority of South Carolina hospitals (90%) offer some type of support to RNS who are extending their education (either to a BSN or Master’s degree), with 80% offering tuition reimbursement for accredited programs.
  • However, there still is a discrepancy in pay differential for BSN prepared nurses, with less than half (41%) of hospitals across the state offering a salary differential for BSN prepared nurses.  The majority of hospitals (82%) in the Upstate region offer a salary differential to BSN prepared nurses.

The Institute of Medicine (2010) recommends that 80% of the RN workforce have a BSN or higher by 2020, and the state has set a goal for 65% BSN or higher education by 2020. These recommendations are due to several factors:  1) extensive research reveals improved patient outcomes in hospitals that have a higher proportion of BSN nurses; 2) increasingly complex healthcare environments require stronger knowledge and skill sets; 3) increasingly flexible education models support the movement of RNs from Associate to BSN degrees.  

In response to the demand for BSN prepared nurses, the University of South Carolina has re-launched our RN-BSN program to meet the national and state recommendations, as well as the market demand for BSN nurses.  Additional information about our BSN and graduate nursing programs can be found HERE.


The Office for Healthcare Workforce Research for Nursing, located at the University of South Carolina  College of Nursing, coordinates the development and publication of workforce policy research in nursing with our partner, The Office for Healthcare Workforce Analysis and Planning.  The Office for Healthcare Workforce Analyses and Planning, part of the South Carolina Area Health Education Consortium at the Medical University of South Carolina, is funded by a grant from The Duke Endowment.  


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