While I agree that formal education plays an important role, I do think that experience should also factor in. What better way to build up tension between co-workers than to have inexperienced staff come in at higher levels with higer pay?
Why not have RNs start out with in the LPN role with equitable pay? If they are successful, then they can be promoted to the RN role. Successful LPNs wouldn't be able to go for such a promotion until they became an RN, but RNs wouldn't pass LPNs in responsibility until they had proven in real life practice that their clinical skills were up to snuff. There might be some competition between nurses if there are limited RN roles to be promoted to, but that could serve to really show who's motivated to take on the added roles and responsibilities of the RN.
As it is, newbie RNs start with only the most basic of skills and often have an LPN, who isn't even paid as much as the newbie, showing them the ropes and checking their work. Or a newbie RN is supervising experienced LPNs and having to ask them how to do things.
The same with BSNs. It's one thing if there are two otherwise equally qualified applicants for a management position and one has a BSN and the other not. Sure, go with the BSN. But if it's between a inexperienced BSN and an experienced RN, I don't see that the BSN would have a greater chance of success in the position. Experience working as a RN would seem be the FIRST requirement and AFTER THAT, more formal education would be the next requirement. If there just aren't enough qualified candidates, why necessarily put the one with formal education but no experience ahead of the person without the formal education? After all, couldn't you send the experienced one back to school? Why should one have more confidence in the BSN's ability to quickly prove their clinical skills in a real world setting than in the experienced ADNs ability to learn and apply higher-level thinking skills? (llg, this is what I interpretted you to be saying. I'm curious of your opinion.)
Is the average BSN program THAT much more MANAGEMENT-oriented? Mine wasn't. After all, our program also had to include all of the regular RN requirements as well as gen ed and upper division electives for the bachelor's. So why isn't any bachelor's degree in addition to the RN license enough for supervisory positions?
On the other hand, if there are nurse manager positions that don't need strong clinical skills and isn't going to ever have to jump into the fray and practice hands on nursing care, then that's a whole other situation. In that case, why limit the position to licensed nurses? Just anyone with relevant health care experience and a bachelors' degree in any field.
Just thoughts and questions!