Higher education for nurses

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Last evening I attended a meeting of my state nurses association to participate in a discussion about a new resolution the association is proposing. The resolution, referred to as “BSN in 10” would require that new graduates from diploma and associate degree programs who graduate after a certain year would be required to complete their BSN within 10 years. This proposal allows the continuation of 3 levels of entry to practice while elevating the long-term educational standards of the profession. Nurses who graduate prior to the established start date would be grandfathered in and not required to meet the BSN rule. Almost every US state is having a similar discussion.

In my mind, the debate is not now, and never has been, about who is the better nurse or who provides better care. The issue is about what is required to move the individual nurse and the profession as a whole forward. Nursing and healthcare have changed dramatically. A new standard is required to meet the challenges of the future. More education is always better. I support the resolution.

2 thoughts on “Higher education for nurses”

  1. Donna, I think you are absolutely correct. During these days of nursing shortages it seems counter-productive to throw roadblocks in the paths of those who would enter the profession. However, it is silliness to continue to allow both a 2-year and 4-year track to RN licensure, – and I say this as a proud ADN RN who is working on a BSN. As a first step toward the goal of all-BSN entry to nursing, the 10 year rule is viable and achievable. From my perspective I believe there are several issues:
    1) all RN’s in CURRENT active practice, regardless of their educational preparation, should be permanently grandfathered and allowed continued licensure as RN’s.
    2) after new laws go into effect, new ADN grads should be allowed to test for RN licensure; such licenses should be annotated in some manner so as to note the 10 year requirement. Allowing these “10-year” ADN’s to continue to achieve RN licensure is sound practice due to the fact that the material required to achieve NCLEX passage and function as a nurse is taught in both nursing school prerequisites and nursing school curricula.
    3) in order to continue as RN’s after new law passage, further education to baccaluareate preparation level would be required, to be completed within 10 years.
    4) new laws should not go into effect until 12 months after passage to allow adequate time for nursing students “in the pipeline” to become NCLEX-eligible under the old rules; nursing schools should be prepared to offer accelerated programs to accommodate these students.
    5) new laws should include some future date, perhaps 25 years out, at which time a BSN would be required for entry to practice, period. By that time the nursing profession will have adjusted to the BSN requirement. At such time NCLEX would be re-structured to test to BSN curricula.

    Moving to an all-BSN prepared RN corps in an incremental manner will also allow nursing education to prepare to phase out ADN education and phase in increased numbers of BSN programs. Many say it can’t be done, but it is reasonable to believe such a shift can be accomplished, particularly if the course is well thought-out and pursued in such a manner as to invite inclusion rather than exclusion.

    It is way past time for nursing to require a broader and deeper knowledge base. Nursing practice has evolved, growing more complex as the needs of our patients grow more critical. Professions must change and grow as the demands of the times require; nursing cannot afford to be the exception. Alta

  2. Donna I do agree with you completely and Alta you make a lot of sense however until our nursing shortgage is over and I don’t see that as happening in 10 or even 25 years, I believe that we still should have associate programs to get your RN and test for NCLEX and continue the requirement of achieving their BSN in 10.

    I truly hope this passes as a requirement – and I am one that is working on her BSN now. I am also going on to become a nurse educator – so I do believe in education for nurses but we need nurses desperately and I know that the need will not be alleviated anytime in the near future…which even 25 years is still near.

    Let us all work toward this goal!

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