Quote from MunoRN
So I guess my question is, would just changing the letters on an ADN's diploma to "BSN" achieve our goals?
No. It wouldn't.
Personally, I have always been in favor or keeping the 2 levels of nursing education (ADN and BSN) -- but making a more concrete and clear differentiation between the two.
An Associate's degree should take no longer than 4 semesters: that was it's original intent and that's how it is in most fields. But ADN requirements have been allowed to "creep" upward over the years so that ADN grads would be better prepared to function at higher levels in today's health care system (without having to get a BSN). (In reality, I think the creep is also due to the school's wanting to require more courses to make more money.)
I say "shorten the ADN programs." Make them shorter, easier, and cheaper. As for the BSN programs, make them more academically rigorous with a solid liberal arts and science foundation followed by a professional nursing education -- upgrade them and enforce high standards. (I think it can be done in 4 years -- 8 semesters of full time study.) My plan would create 2 distinct levels of nursing. The ADN and BSN grads would take separate NCLEX exams and hold different licensures, with their scopes of practice clearly distinct from each other, though with some overlap of content.
Under my plan, the ADN would remain available as an entry into practice for those who can't do a BSN at the start -- or who choose not to for some reason. It would give them a decent job and provide a large workforce adequately trained to do basic care at the bedside for many acute care patients and LTC residents. The BSN's could also provide care at the bedside, but have additional career options based on broader & more indepth education provided by the BSN. The market would then influence (but not totally decide) how many of each an employer (or society in general) would need.
Under my system, everyone would know their role in the system from the start. It's the lack of clarity that is the source of many of the conflicts and tensions that exist. If things got clarified and codified, everyone could then choose what educational path best met their personal needs.
Just my $.02