Education is never overrated. I can't believe anyone would say that, what a shame on our profession.
I guess I'll add my thoughts to this as well, since everyone else has
One think I think is so silly is the whole debate over the "how much clinical time do you get?". Anyone can learn to do skills, they are NOT hard....I do IV's, foleys, central line draws, ABGs, NG tubes, injections,etc all day long. Skills just come from practice but there is nothing hard about any of them really. Now, I am NOT knocking clinical time whatsoever because it IS important, but it isn't the end all be all of your nursing education. If you see a student who has never done an IM maybe she/he just never got the chance, maybe she/he worked with RN who wouldn't let the students do much (I have worked with nurses like that), I mean who knows ...why not help out and teach? In my BSN program our junior year we get 12 hours clinical a week, senior year we get about 24 hours a week, preceptor ship is another 200 hours I think (somewhere around there). That is all fine and good and I really don't care how much your program gets because that doesn't affect me any, but it is not as important as my theory classes have been (pharm, phatho, critical care, gerontology, med/surg, etc etc etc etc). I can see this clearly now that I am working in an ICU. I really don't think my program is better or worse than anyone elses that is for sure.
I think knowing your disease process is soooo important! Being able to critically think when your patient is in resp distress (for example) is vital. I really could care less how fast you can put in a Foley or how many of them you have done, if (and I've seen this before!!) your patient has a K of 8 and having arrhythmias you better know what is going on, and what to do. Anytime me or anyone needs help with a skill, all you have to do is ask (some people as we know are better than others with IVs), but you really have to know your stuff and that doesn't necessarily come from time in clinical time while in school.
Also why do people knock classes like Leadership or Research or classes like that (I hear people on this site saying how stupid some of these "management" classes are)? Since when is education a bad thing? I don't get that at all. Nurses need to be more involved in things like research, every nurse needs to have spend some time critiquing research reports and being a leader (that is a sign of a professional no?). Nursing is so much more than skills. It just seems that so many students get so hung up on clinical hours where there is just sooo much more to it than that, and each floor is different in how they do skills anyways. Some floors you will never give an IM (we don't really in the ICU where I work or vary rarely).
If your smart and willing to learn, your going to be a great nurse! It is the nurses that come out of school thinking they know it all who scare me--not the nurses who come out of school with only putting in one foley!
But who knows maybe I am wrong about all this
I just think nurses rock and that is the bottom line. I just wish people really knew a nurses education and what we did ya know?