Professional Nursing Education Requirements for Entry Into Practice
Health care within the United States is changing at a rapid pace. Advances in medicine, life saving techniques, and technology, have drastically improved patient outcomes throughout the years (Taylor, 2008). As a result, nurses need to be able to think critically and provide higher levels of complex patient care in the health care industry (Taylor, 2008). In order to keep up with the advances in healthcare, nurses’ educational requirements should be increased from an associate’s degree to a baccalaureate degree in nursing as the entry into professional practice.
Push for Increase in Education
McEwen, Pullis, White, and Krawtz (2013) state the first major recommendation for a baccalaureate degree in nursing (BSN) for entry into professional practice dates back to as far as the mid-1960s with little advancement made for the push in raising education requirements. Taylor (2008) explains that after over forty years since the American Nurse Associations 1965 position paper on raising entry into practice education requirements, the issue is still to this day being debated. McEwen et al. also tells us despite the lack of progress, the need for BSN-educated nurses is on the rise due to an advancing health care industry.
The employer is also beginning to have a large impact on the importance of a BSN degree in order to practice. Hospitals are now striving to achieve national recognitions through awards such as Magnet (McEwen, 2013). Magnet requires a certain percentage of nurses employed to have an education level of a BSN or higher. Those hospitals are looking for higher educated nurses to meet the need of rising complexity among patient care.
However, many external factors such as the lack of defined standards within academic preparation and public image impede this much-needed advancement. Jacobs, DiMattio, Bishop, and Fields (1998) recall a study in which the public views nurses as, “…having academic preparation similar to that of a therapist or librarian.” Jacobs et al. emphasizes nursing practices must be based on a set of well-defined standards, which cannot be distinguished until the educational preparation issues are addressed. This statement shows the need to develop a well-defined curriculum for all programs and making it self-evident a modification is in need with the educational structure for entry to practice nurses at a baccalaureate level in order to keep up with a changing structure in health care.
BSN Degree Versus AND Degree
A lack of distinction. A major problem currently with nursing education is the lack of a distinction between the associate and baccalaureate nursing programs. Taylor (2008) points out associate degree nurses take the same licensing examination upon completion of the program as those who have completed a baccalaureate program. This being said, regardless of the educational level preparation both degrees are able to sit for examination and...