Linda Aiken: Changing the Nursing Landscape for the Better

a group of nurses putting their hands together for a cheer

Better patient outcomes and lower mortality rates are top priorities for many hospitals. With advances in technology, education and systems, more families are getting the care that they need. While better patient care has always been a universal goal for healthcare systems, the question becomes, “How can hospitals provide better patient outcomes?” An authority in her field, Linda Aiken’s research over the past few decades has helped to provide an answer to this question and transformed the nursing landscape for nurses who are considering earning their Bachelor of Science in Nursing.

About Linda Aiken

Known as a “giant” in nursing innovation, Linda Aiken, PhD, RN, FAAN, has been a pioneer in collecting quantitative and tangible research to answer the question of how hospitals can achieve better patient outcomes. With over 200 publications in the field and nearly 20 years of research, Dr. Aiken’s findings have had a global influence in the industry. In fact, her RN4CAST project is the largest research project of its kind, focusing on nursing care and patient outcomes in the U.S., Europe, Asia, South Africa, Australia and Chile.

Linda Aiken’s Research and Findings

In a 2003 study, later confirmed in 2011, Dr. Aiken found that a 10% increase in the number of BSN-prepared nurses at a hospital reduced the likelihood of patient deaths by 5%. In direct comparison between hospitals that hired BSN-prepared nurses with those that didn’t between 1999 and 2006, Dr. Aiken found more evidence that hospitals with BSN-prepared nurses had greater declines in mortality rates.

Additionally, her research demonstrated a 7% increase in 30-day mortality after common surgical procedures with each additional patient added to a nurse’s workload. Dr. Aiken’s team also discovered that with in-hospital cardiac arrest patients, every patient added to a nurse’s workload is associated with a 5% decrease in the likelihood of surviving discharge.

Experts today are recognizing the importance of hiring nurses who are prepared with a BSN. Based on Dr. Aiken’s research, more education is associated with more knowledge and ability to navigate the consistently changing and complex healthcare system. In fact, the National Academy of Medicine’s 2010 report recommends that 80% of U.S. nurses have a bachelor’s degree by the year 2020. This report was influenced by Dr. Aiken’s research.

Advance Your Education at GCU

In response to Dr. Aiken’s studies and the demand for BSN-prepared nurses in the field, Grand Canyon University’s College of Nursing and Health Care Professions offers our dynamic RN to BSN degree program. Our college has a tradition of preparing students fill evolving healthcare roles as qualified professionals. As one of the top nursing schools in Arizona, there are plenty of reasons to choose our RN to BSN program, including taking the program completely online as well as transparency about time to completion and cost.

Grand Canyon University is a thriving private Christian school in the heart of Phoenix. To learn more about our programs, visit our website or use the Request More Information button on this page.


  • “Building the Case for More Highly Educated Nurses.” Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Retrieved from
  • “Linda Aiken: A ‘Giant’ in Nursing Innovation.” Leonard David Institute of Health Economics. University of Pennsylvania. Retrieved from

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.