After the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) 2010 report on the “Future of Nursing,” the nursing field made a concerted effort to encourage current and incoming nurses to achieve higher education through a Bachelor of Science Nursing (BSN) degree or higher.

As lifelong learners, nurses are committed to providing the best care possible and consistently furthering their education is part of that commitment. According to a report from AARP and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 56% of U.S. nurses hold a BSN or higher, an all-time high for the profession.

Susan C. Reinhard, senior vice president and director of AARP’s Center to Champion Nursing in America, lauded the achievement.

“As the largest proportion of healthcare workforce, nurses play a powerful role in helping people stay well,” Reinhard said. “With research linking higher levels of education for nurses with safer, high-quality care, we will all benefit as more nurses heed the IOM’s call to pursue higher levels of education.”

State-by-state, more nurses have been achieving their BSN. Since 2010, Delaware has seen a 20.7% increase in nurses with BSNs. Other notable states include Missouri, Montana, Louisiana, and Oregon, all of which increased their number of BSN-certified nurses by 13% or more. All states exhibited growth unless data were otherwise unavailable. Ultimately, nurses are answering the call to pursue higher education for their patients and profession.