Very interesting debate! Unfortunately, due to the acute shortage of nursing faculty in many areas, rigid requirements for bedside experience may need to be reexamined and creative solutions formulated. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing in the white paper "Faculty Shortages in Baccalaureate and Graduate Nursing Programs: Scope of the Problem and Strategies for Expanding the Supply" recommends the following:
In a similar vein, many nurse educators continue to accept the traditional view that significant clinical experience as a registered nurse is essential before matriculating in official graduate programs that prepares students for specialization and/or advanced practice. This position may not be accurate and is not supported in the empirical literature. It certainly bears scrutiny in the face of decreasing faculty resources. While high academic standards should not be compromised, rethinking any artificial eligibility criteria may be a useful strategy to increase enrollments in nursing graduate programs.
Not only should we reconsider the experience prerequisite for nurses seeking graduate education, we also should reconsider whether a nursing undergraduate degree is an essential prerequisite to graduate study in nursing. One excellent source of future faculty includes individuals who earned degrees in fields other than nursing. Second-degree or accelerated programs transition these individuals into nursing careers in streamlined ways and often in an abbreviated time frame.
10. As they exist, consider reducing or eliminating experience or other artificial prerequisites for graduate study....
13. Attract more second-degree students to the nursing profession and encourage these and other high-achieving students to consider the faculty role early in their education.
I know of one young nurse educator (still in her 20's!) who barely had two years' bedside experience, who also was a recipient of one of the Nurse Educator Fellowships here in NC. She is now happily and productively teaching fulltime in a local ADN program.
At our College of Nursing, second-degree students (with NO nursing experience) can apply to the Nursing Education Program in the Alternate Entry Program with the stipulation "Some concentrations require one to two years of clinical experience in a selected setting prior to taking specific clinical courses; however, during the time the student is gaining this experience, the student can take selected core courses which are available online."
The North Carolina Board of Nursing requires that faculty teaching in a program leading to initial licensure "have two calendar years or the equivalent of full time clinical experience as a registered nurse."
In posting this information, I am not necessarily condoning such practices, but these are occurring in direct response to the nurse faculty shortage.