Should BSN programs include more advanced clinical courses or continue to be aimed at leadership?
Is the current BSN courses, focusing mostly on Leadership, causing nurses to leave the bedside faster, while increasing the nursing shortage?
Recent news came out after New York passed the Bill S3520A, which requires registered professional nurses to attain a baccalaureate degree in nursing within ten years of their initial licensure; the bill provides exemptions for those currently licensed or enrolled in nursing programs.
I am 100% supportive of continued education and for this reason, I believe there should be a curriculum for BSN nurses with a deepened focus in patient care, advanced pathology and pharmacology to help the bedside nurse increase their knowledge of disease processes and treatments, and a limited focus on leadership and nurse management. A leadership and management curriculum should be courses taken as a post baccalaureate program.
This type of nursing curriculum would then help those that will later seek advanced degrees to distinguish between advanced nursing practices or a masters or doctoral degrees on management or education.
As a nurse who have obtained a baccalaureate degree after being a registered nurse with an ADN, I do not feel the program added to my clinical knowledge, which I wish it would have, I do not desire to take my career into the management route.
Opinions are divided in the issues of the path the nursing professions has taken. So I thought I'd share my personal train of thought as to how I believe the nursing profession should be designed.
I also have to agree with the fact that implementing a BSN for entry level positions may force some to shy away from the profession aggravating the shortage of nurses.
The ANA supports the decision to have the baccalaureate education be the standard for entry into professional nursing practice. The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), a subsidiary of the ANA, wants to offer a new certification exam for nurses who hold a BSN, and to offer the present exams to nurses who hold an associate degree or diploma.
"Certification is becoming increasingly recognized as one of the methods of validation of competence," said ANA President Mary E. Foley MS, RN. "The ANCC board made a thoughtful decision that reflects the current environment which emphasizes continuing competence for ALL nurses, not only those with a bachelor's degree. The majority of registered nurses in clinical practice--some 70 percent--do not hold a BSN." This idea is not new, the ANA has pushed for this since 1964.
North Dakota was the only state that had successfully implemented the BSN proposal for entry level nursing positions, but it was voted out in 2003. Now, New York has passed the bill, and within the next 10 years ADN will be phased out.
In the essay 'Nurses are what nurses do--are you where you want to be?' Domino suggests that nurses are the "least educated of all the major healthcare professionals." Because many of these healthcare professions require a minimum of a bachelor's degree for entry level practice. So, it is a valid argument to suggest that nurses should become more educated, but it is necessary to educate nurses with the subjects that will be useful in the clinical setting.
Let's take physicians for example, the only time they have lessons on management is during residency years, and it is not all programs that offers those rotations. It is 4 years of medical school that is disease processes, diagnosis and treatments courses plus at least 3 years of residency of more clinical knowledge. So to build nurses entirely competent in the clinical aspects, more time should be devoted to such teachings.
The Dude Nurse
Klaus Campos, BSN-RN