I agree Grace, I find that the best nurses are "Diploma" nurses. I am not a Diploma nurse
before any of the ADN, BSN people get their panties in a bunch. I am an ADN,BSN blah, blah,blah and it doesn't mean a thing. Experience is the real important thing.
Now getting back to the topic. Whenever someone learns I am a nurse (outside of the work setting I am talking about here) I almost always hear the following "You must be a great person to do that". When I am at work I frequently hear people say "I don't know how you people do this job. It must be so stressful." That being said, I really honestly believe that the general public has absolutely no clue about how important nurses are. How many of us have caught a complication, notified the doc and the doc came out looking like a hero. Not that I want to be a hero but these people leave the hospital and tell everyone how their doctor saved their life. What really happened was the nurse had to threaten or beg the doc to come in and after he/she berated that nurse finally was convinced to do what he/she should do for the patient. It happens a lot. Anyone who has worked nights for any length of time can tell you what bastards some of the docs can be!
I believe the perception most people have is that we are basically a waitress. I think we need to have more media exposure about how we do save lives by spotting complications and intervening in a timely manner. Perhaps if nursing had a more positive focus in the media (doesn't it kill you when nurses are protrayed as slutty or that they can work in every department in the hospital?????????) maybe more people would be attracted to look into the profession. Of course the working conditions, money and benefits have to improve to really get people to make the commitment.
Personally this BSN nurse doesn't think you need a BSN to do bedside nursing. You need a good clinical foundation in school and continued clinical experience to be a great clinician. My BSN didn't add anything at all to my practice as a bedside ICU nurse.