ER Nurse

Monday, January 31, 2005

Raising the Bar of Nursing Education

One of the issues that I am most concerned with in nursing is the multiple routes of entry into the profession. Currently, one can be prepared to sit for the registered nurse licensure exam through diploma programs, associate degree programs, or through a four year baccalaureate degree program. Not only do these multiple entry points result in a wide range of nursing knowledge and skills, they lack the standardization of education that characterizes other professions, such as law or medicine. I am a strongly favor in standardizing nursing education to establish the baccalaureate degree as the minimum entry point into the profession. The ANA addressed this issue in a position paper in the mid-1960's. It has still not come to pass, and I would argue is needed now more than ever. The public's perception of nurses and the treatment of nurses by other health care professionals depend upon raising the bar of education. The nursing shortage stems in part from the perception of nursing as a vocational or technical career, and therefore is unattractive to the very people the profession needs. Isn't it time to end this long standing education debate?