Quote from grandmawrinkle
As an FYI there are many academic disciplines that admit directly to the PhD from the BA/BS. Sometimes, the MA/MS is awarded during the PhD program, sometimes not. This may be a little new for nursing, but it's not new in academia.
However ... in many of those disciplines, the actual practice of that disciplines is a major component of the graduate education. In nursing, that is not the case.
For example, if you get a PhD in chemistry, a lot of the work that you do as a grad student is the actual practice of chemistry in a lab. If you get a PhD in history, you actually practice history as a grad student as you do your research for the various classes. People getting a PhD in English actually DO English as the explore literature, analyze and critique things, write things, etc. during both their undergrad and graduate education.
In nursing, the amount of actual patient care in a graduate program may be non-existent. Grad education in many nursing roles (except NP, CNM, CNS, CRNA) focuses on education, research, theory, admin, etc. -- often with no courses that include direct patient care. So, a person who goes directly from a BSN program to a PhD program may never actually take care of patients beyond the experience he/she gets as an undergraduate. Such a person might be "book smart," but he/she would not be a competent practicing nurse -- and be very limited in his/her abilities to make judgments about the practice of nursing.
So ... in nursing ... the situation is very different than it is most other disciplines.