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3 Obstacles to Higher Education Levels in Nursing

Rebecca Hendren, for HealthLeaders Media, August 23, 2011

Make sure staff has Internet access on worksite computers so they can conduct professional literature searches. You don't want them checking Facebook when they are supposed to be working, of course, but if you hold staff to a high degree of professionalism, they're not going to do that anyway. 

Consider professional development activities that promote evidence-based practice. Don't think that being a small, rural hospital precludes such activities. Look at Barbara "BJ" Hannon, MSN, RN, CPHQ—chosen as one of the 20 people making healthcare better in 2009. She regularly travels to small hospitals around rural Iowa to educate staff on evidence-based practice and how to get started.

Having more nurses educated at a higher level isn't an either/or choice. The choice isn't between having enough nurses to meet demand OR having more highly educated nurses. If nurse leaders get behind the cause, hospitals can have both.


Rebecca Hendren is a senior managing editor at HCPro, Inc. in Danvers, MA. She edits www.StrategiesForNurseManagers.com and manages The Leaders' Lounge blog for nurse managers. Email her at rhendren@hcpro.com.
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23 comments on "3 Obstacles to Higher Education Levels in Nursing"


Beth Freed, CCRN, MSN, FNP-BC (12/30/2012 at 7:09 PM)
In an ideal world, every nurse would strive to gain the highest education possible. Money, time, responsibilities, lack of support, raising families, caring for elderly/sick parents, etc can be blamed for not achieving these goals. It is easy on the outside looking in to downplay 'the whys', and unrealistic to think the only good nurses are BSN trained. I have former coworkers (ICCU) that range from having Associate to BSN education of whom I would trust my life because of their experience, critical thinking skills, caring, and compassion. In that setting, if you are not passionate about what you do, you do not survive. The focus needs to be on CONTINUED education in order to train already talented nurses to remain on top of their profession.

Christy (10/12/2011 at 3:30 PM)
I am currently working on my ASN in California. My sister-in-law has a BSN (also in California). She works with nurses who have graduated from the school I am attending and as far as she can tell, the major difference in education is management type classed required for a BSN. The program here is so impacted that most nursing students (myself included) must take additional classes while waiting to gain admittance to the nursing classes. I am currently taking psychopathology. A class not required, but relevant to my chosen profession. Next semester I will be taking organic chem and nutrition. Again, classes not required, but may aid me later in my studies. I can accept that "better out comes" happen with a BSN. Now find out why and incorporate that into an ASN program. Also, figure out a way to get more nursing students through school. I don't want to do the classes faster, I just don't want to have to wait 2 years to start. There is no perfect solution. If as a country we are worried about a nursing shortage, then we need to do what we can to get more qualified people the education they desire to become nurses.

KATHY MARSHALL (10/6/2011 at 9:23 AM)
Yes, nurses need to be educated at least to a BSN level. But I am not. Why? First, let me say I have over 20 yrs. experience and I have many "certifications" as well as "extra" college credits that don't apply to a BSN program. I have checked into numerous RN to BSN programs and have found the minimum # of credit hours I need to fufill the requirements for a BSN is 42. I work full time so part-time attendance is my only option. If I took 2 classes a semester (6 credits) it would take me 7 semesters (2 1/2 yrs with summer classes) and cost me about $17,000. During those 2 1/2 yrs there would be no time for vacations, etc. I am 54 years old. Although I'd love to get my BSN and work on a Master's, the requirements don't make sense to me, considering my past education and experience.