Quote from elkpark
As usual (:chuckle), I completely agree with llg. Nursing in the US needs to abandon this "quantity, not quality" mentality and focus limited, precious resources on schools that can do a good job of turning out smaller numbers of well-prepared graduates who will actually stay in nursing (in addition to the other side of the equation, which is making it more attractive for experienced nurses to stay in the field).
Warning: The new grad perspective
I think part of the problem is the lack of incentive for GOOD nurse educators to teach in nursing programs. In a lot of cases, Colleges do not pay our educators as much as they can make as staff nurses. These folks have an lot on their shoulders; 'creating' nurses to take care of patients is no joke, and they should be compensated commeasurate with responsibility.
I am a new grad, and the difference between solid, concerned nursing faculty and the 'other' kind is measurable in what I learned. For example, I am reasonably confident about the education I received in many areas, but I know for a fact that my pediatric unit was extremely bad. My clinical instructor was great, and stretched our brains. The lecture component was godawful. I did well on the test (because it was ridiculously easy), and managed to pass NCLEX, but I did a lot of extra studying and reading about pediatric problems after I graduated, to bring myself up to par. The rest of my nursing school experience seems to be adequate. My measuring stick is: the theory I learned keeps coming up in my practice, and I know what I am supposed to do in a lot of situations.
I also believe that good, solid nursing programs should be given more spots for students if they have enough faculty to handle them.
My biggest problem with nursing education is the NCLEX. I believe that 'teaching to the boards' is ridiculous. We have to be more concerned with 'teaching to nursing practice'. I also do not believe that the NCLEX is an accurate measuring stick of basic nursing knowledge. 75 questions is simply not enough. I am actually afraid of what they did NOT ask me.
Experienced nurses that leave the field are a seperate problem. I have no idea how to even begin to solve it. The hospitals are not going to volunteer more base pay or better conditions on their own, and as far as I can tell, nurses tend to not unionize. We have no collective bargaining power in any hospital in my area. (except one, but they have serious union problems) Hospitals offer more money for shifts when they are desperately short of staffing, but that is not solving the problem.