There is no "better" or "worse." Most of what makes a good nurse is learned on the job, caring for patients and gaining practical experience. The average age of nurses is 46 and they have decades of experience that have made them competent professionals. I would guess that years of on-the-job experience trump classroom education.
Imagine, though, what additional education could do.
Nurse leaders need to have a sensible discussion about this without being overly concerned about hurt feelings among staff.
Much of rank-and-file nursing lags in incorporating evidence-based practice. When you're a nurse in the trenches putting patients needs before your own and helping get them well—or at the least, trying to stop them dying on your watch—there's little time to worry about the latest evidence.
The profession, however, needs to become more comfortable with evidence as a basis for daily practice. Nurse leaders should take the lead so that nurses become confident and comfortable with evidence, both clinical and non-clinical issues. To support their arguments for safe patient care and the importance of having enough time at the bedside nurses must be comfortable with research so they stop talking from the heart and talk from the head.
If nurse leaders aren't comfortable with evidence-based practice and research they are letting down their organizations.
Many argue that it's easier in urban settings to encourage nurses to pursue higher education as there are more options. Nurse leaders in rural hospitals shouldn't take that as an excuse to give up. Subscribe to professional journals, read them, and encourage staff to read them. Have the medical staff invite nurses to clinical meetings so they are exposed to the latest research and discussions about patient care.