I have a lot of thoughts on this subject based on my own educational background. Of course these are only my opinions based on my experiences.
My background is that I got a bachelor's degree in business many years ago in my 20s. I went back to nursing school
at my local community college and got my ADN in my late 30s. Five or so years later I completed my RN to BSN only because I could see the writing on the wall that we were going to need it in the future and I didn't want to be scrambling for it when it became a requirement. I also started an RN to MSN program at one point and quit when I realized it was definitely not what I wanted to do/learn.
My hospital is also requiring all RNs to get their BSN within the next 5 years. I do not agree with this. Overall I don't think it's a bad idea for nurses to have four years of education, but I do not believe that a nurse with years of experience will have any improvement in their nursing practice or skills by completing a BSN. My RN to BSN program was entirely about nursing research and nothing about actual bedside care. If they wanted to teach me additional pharmacology and pathophysiology I would have been the first one in line, but that's not what it was. To me it was all fluff and seemed like a lot of desperate attempts at research to further legitimize even more nursing education to the master's and doctorate level. Even the master's program I started was an awful lot of fluff with just a few courses that seemed to deal with medical knowledge. I realize there is quite the debate about 'nursing' and 'medical,' but when I'm at the bedside of a very sick patient, I wish I knew more medicine. I do not find myself wondering what the research shows about various nursing diagnoses.
If the goal of a BSN is to have more educated, well rounded nurses, I don't disagree with that, but if that was really the case my prior bachelor's degree should have been adequate since I had completed all the general education requirements at that time.
In summary, I don't disagree with a nursing degree being four years, but I do disagree with what is being taught in those four years, and I don't believe the current nursing administration at most hospitals nor the powers that be at nursing schools
are pushing that education for the right reasons. I believe the overcredentialing is being pushed by the schools to make money--and I think that is the bottom line. Those dedicated souls who go on to earn these high level degrees are rarely being compensated appropriately for those degrees. I also believe the Magnet silliness is simply a money maker too. The hospitals pay for the privilege of achieving Magnet status and then continue to pay each time they renew. I think it's all about money.
Just my two cents.