I definitely agree concerning those already in school and licensed being grandfathered in. In terms of there being sufficient BSN programs with scholarships
to provide the nurses we need--will that ever happen? Does the difficulty in making a change like this justify simply maintaining the status quo?
Current range of training options results in a vast range of level of performance in areas beyond the basic task-oriented skill performance. With technological advancements and shortened hospital stays clearly to continue the transition to higher demand for nurses in non-hospital settings, should non-baccalaureate programs even be considered to be adequate?
Acceptance of nurses as professionals is hampered both by nurses themselves and in the eyes of others; the current range of entry level options is one factor in that perception. The professions of Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Respiratory Therapy, Speech Therapy, Medical Social Work to name a few ALL require a bacclaureate education or beyond for entry into practice. CNA's, LVN's, RN's, and-gulp-NP's do not(in CA).
When nursing included a greater proportion of time spent on patient tasks as bathing, changing linen, and assisting with meals, a higher level of academic achievement may have yielded little benefit. In nursing today, as these types of tasks are delegated to CNA's. LVN's are often delegated tasks as passing meds, drawing blood, and doing treatments. Is it reasonable to continue to train new RN's without the benefit of higher academic education as so little of what we do remains purely task-oriented? The need for the nurse to have good critical thinking skills based on a solid educational background to adequately meet the expanded role into which nursing is growing is key.
An alternative approach to requiring all current programs require BSN's would be to identify different levels of RN's and the roles in which they could participate. A stratification process as this could easily create dissention and rivalry among nurses, much in the same way the NP sometimes faces challenges from other nurses. This option would also continue to undermine our acceptance and performance as a profession.
There are no easy answers; but that does not justify doing nothing.