3 Obstacles to Higher Education Levels in Nursing
This is a huge problem for nursing and healthcare in general and we need to find a multitude of ways to fix the impending nursing shortage. With the looming disruption caused by retiring baby boomers, it's admittedly a bad time to call for a requirement that will limit the number of RNs.
That's not a reason to abandon it entirely. Nurse leaders can read the evidence as well as anyone. If we recognize that BSN nurses result in better patient outcomes, then let's start planning for how to get there. Some hospitals have a requirement that nurses obtain a BSN within a certain number of years after entry to practice. More hospitals need to start this.
We need to place higher value on further education and make it easier for nurses to work and study. Many hospitals offer tuition reimbursement, which helps make the prospect of further schooling manageable. Hospitals must ensure that education is emphasized and valued and that nurses are encouraged if they want to do this, for example by being flexible with scheduling.
The majority of RNs don't have a four-year degree. And most of these nurses are dedicated, accomplished clinical professionals. They point out that most new associate degree nurses have more clinical experience coming into practice than those with BSNs. It's arguable that associate degree nurses are actually better nurses in the first year of practice because they've had more clinical experience. But here's the rub. This isn't evidence, its observation. It's not scientific data collection and analysis of patient outcomes over the long term.
If you're not a nurse, you cannot comprehend the level of passion this topic engenders. I have been flamed by nurses for appearing to suggest that BSN-educated nurses are in some way "better" than associate degree nurses.
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