ADN Nurses Being Forced to go Back to School?

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    New Rules Send Upstate Nurses (in S.C.) Back to School

    Hospitals across the country are now mandating that nurses with associate degrees obtain a Bachelor of Science degree.The change went into effect July 1 for nursing staff at Greenville Health System. The organization anticipates 300 nurses will be required to sign a Memorandum of Understanding stating that they will return to school for a BSN degree within four years.


    The change in education requirements for nursing staff is based on a recommendation from the Institute of Medicine. The non-profit advisory group wants 80 percent of all nurses to have a four-year degree by 2020.
    “We hope for the patient, it will provide enhanced care,” according to Judith Thompson, CEO of the South Carolina Nurses Association.

    One rationale behind this is that since the role of the nurse in the hospital is changing and becoming more complex, more education is needed to keep up.

    What do you think about making nurses with years of experience under their belts to go back to school or risk their jobs?
    Last edit by tnbutterfly on Jul 3
    visionary123, Esme12, nursel56, and 1 other like this.

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  2. 105 Comments...

  3. 15
    The buggy whip makers and ostlers had to learn to work at Ford. If they wanted to keep up with the times.

    There are still a few people who have horses and buggies for transportation, and they still need buggy whips. But they are anachronisms. Charming and expert at what they do, but anachronisms. And there are not too many people who supply that need. History moves on; the needs of society and the public change.
    tcvnurse, Plute62, HouTx, and 12 others like this.
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    I'm in love with the fact that you just used "anachronism" in a sentence.
    southern rn, Plute62, Glycerine82, and 18 others like this.
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    It sounds like they are giving them plenty of time to go back to school. That's one thing I always look at. According to the OP, they have 4 years to START school, meaning that anyone planning to leave or retire in the next 4 years doesn't have to worry about it at all. And people planning to stay have plenty of time to prepare, save up a litlte money and vacation time, find a school that suits them, etc.

    And I assume that people can go to school part time, just taking 1 class per semester (at least partially funded by the employer), making it not terribly expensive if people choose that timetable.


    There are far worse things.
    CrazyGoonRN, vopoku, icuRNmaggie, and 7 others like this.
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    I don't think it really matters what we think, because it is happening. Education is never a bad thing. However, not all programs are created equally, and for me the jury is out on whether this truly makes someone a more competent nurse. Having completed an RN to BSN program at one time myself, I did not find there to be more education that would impact my practice, I found the education made me a more well-rounded and educated person, and was a valuable experience.
    Last edit by random_nurse12 on Jul 2 : Reason: spelling
    tcvnurse, SC_RNDude, icuRNmaggie, and 5 others like this.
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    "One rationale behind this is that since the role of the nurse in the hospital is changing and becoming more complex, more education is needed to keep up."

    But is it, really? Aren't the mid-levels (NP's & PA's) taking on the more complex roles and the RN's are becoming the workhorses, with higher acuity patients at ever-higher patient-nurse ratios? I'm no longer on the floor, but what I read (mostly here) is that the bedside nurrses can barely keep up with their tasks, let alone have time to take on more complex roles.
    CrazyGoonRN, Ayvah, IowaKaren, and 9 others like this.
  8. 4
    the writing is on the wall - if you want to work you need the credentials. There is no way you can lose with having more education. For instance, we used to have LVN's in the hospital where I work. We are down to 2, and they retire soon. Another hospital in town laid off ALL LVN's recently. So those who failed to advance their education are now out of work. Sign of the times.
    emtb2rn, icuRNmaggie, exp626, and 1 other like this.
  9. 16
    Quote from random_nurse12
    I don't think it really matters what we think, because it is happening. Education is never a bad thing. However, not all programs are created equally, and for me the jury is out on whether this truly makes someone a more competent nurse.
    It's not about making a more competent nurse, it's about meeting quotas.
  10. 29
    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.
    Chey Fire, Twinmom06, eagle78, and 26 others like this.
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    At my facility, they are asking for an 80% rate. All new hires have to agree to complete BSN within 5 years. There is a sliding scale as to a timeline for people that already work there and I believe they are grandfathering some of our veteran nurses so that they don't have to go back to school. I think if they are within a certain amount of years of retiring.
    We do have a tuition reimbursement program though, so it helps.
    GrnTea likes this.


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