lowering standards R/T shortage - page 5

I have been hearing many stories lately about how nursing instructors/nursing programs are being asked to lower the "scales" to pass more students directly due to the nursing shortage. Has... Read More

  1. by   Pretzlgl
    Thank you llg, I do appreciate your input. Continuing education is absolutely necessary in any profession. And I do agree that BSN nurses are better prepared for some situations. I think that my main point about the whole BSN/ADN/Diploma issue is that making the BSN the entry point for nursing in and of itself will not completely solve the many problems that nursing faces. Physician disrespect being one issue. Short staffing, high nurse/patient ratios, and on and on. As I stated in my previous post to Anthony, another example of a profession with similar problems is teaching. And this career requires a Bachelor's from the start. I think a big issue with nursing and teaching is that they are largely female professions. Recruiting more male nurses may be an answer. And becoming and being looked upon as a profession as separate from MD's and not exclusively as their hand maidens, if you will, would be another important step. How do we get there? Maybe making the BSN the entry level requirement would be a solution. But for now, if as a profession we focused on our current issues as well as looking to change the future of nursing, our world would be a better place. Since I have been an RN, I have sadly experienced the truth of how nurses eat their young and truly do not stand up for each other. MD's have a much more unified profession. Is it because of their advanced degree? Maybe. Could it be because their's is a male dominated profession? Possibly. I just can't help but think that until we have the support from the public, the hospital administrator's, and each other, working conditions in nursing are not going to improve no matter what degree one possesses.
  2. by   llg
    To Pretzlgl:

    I agree with much of what you said in your last post.

    I don't know what to do with the educational system we now have. While I agree that the ADN is sufficient for bedside practice, I feel that the 3 different levels of entry into professional nursing hinder our development and our ability to work together. Medicine and teaching both have an advantage over nursing in that their practitioners have a common basis of understanding. Because all the physicians went to medical schools and all the teachers went to 4-year colleges, they share a certain bond with their colleagues -- a common academic foundation and feeling of commeraderie (spelling?) that nursing does not share.

    In nursing, the different levels of education cause problems because it sets up conflict. For example: an ADN nurse returns to school and gets a BSN ... she feels she deserves a raise because she has learned things in her BSN program that she feels will help her be better at her job. Is she wrong to feel that way? (Certainly, someone CAN and SHOULD benefit from taking classes if he/she makes an effort.) And yet, she has trouble discussing it with her friends who have not gone back to school because they take offense at her suggestion that she is somehow a "better" nurse than they are.

    And then there are staff nurses who also have Master's Degrees. What about them?

    The current system is messy ... very messy. I doubt we are going to get rid of the different entry levels for a long time, but I think we really need to clarify the roles of the different levels so that we can clean up some of the mess that the confusion has caused.

  3. by   Flo1216
    The different entry levels seem to engage nurses and prospective nurses in a neverending pissing contest . I guess in order to truly understand the value of a diploma or ADN vs. a BSN you would have to attend both programs. I am all for higher education and will pursue my BSN immediately after graduating from my 3 year diploma program in June.I have heard nurses say that they furthered their schooling and didn't become better nurses. In that case, maybe they weren't that great of a nurse to begin with. I think some nurses get too caught up in the tasks and technology and don't open themselves up to all they are capable of. If you apply what you learn, however, I can't see how additional education couldn't make you a better nurse all around. I chose a diploma program because I couldn't afford a BSN program. At the risk of sounding biased though, I truly believe I chose an excellent school and I have no regrets. I do believe however that someday a BSN entry level or even a 5 year masters program would result in nurses being viewed as educated professionals rather than subservient hand-maidens.My grandfather thinks that all nurses just give injections, spongebaths and empty bedpans. And I won't even go into the sex-role stereotype that depicts nurses as empty-headed ditzes in tight little mini-dresses who spend their shifts getting it on with the doctors. With the nursing shortage, a BSN entry level requirement is unlikely to happen anytime soon, not to mention the fact that a lot of potentially excellent nurses cannot afford the expense of an undergraduate degree. So since we are not going to resolve this issue in the next decade or so, can't we all just get along and work as a team, regardless of whether or not we have R.N or the entire alphabet behind our names?
  4. by   Pretzlgl
    Exactly. Thanks Flo for your input. I too graduated from a wonderful diploma program and will also attain my BSN. Just wish we could work together towards a common solution instead of picking each other apart.
  5. by   DDRN04
    I just wanted to add to this discussion:

    I am currently in an ADN program and I do not feel that the standards have been lowered at my school at all.

    Most of us in the program have spent a year or more before entering the program taking all of the corequisites (co, not pre) such as Anatomy and physiology, psychcology, etc before our first semester of nursing.

    Entrace into our program was based on our GPA from our school and previous schools, the number of Ds or withdraws from other classes in the past 2 years and a placement test. For those who did not score at the top of the placement test were required to go to a seminar over the summer before this fall semester.

    I do not know how many people total were admitted (there are some people that I saw at orientation that I did not see in September) but the Freshman class was 100 strong and we have only had 2 drop outs so far (one of whom was 1 of only 2 students admitted out of high school).

    I get frustrated to hear some of my classmates complain of having to write papers. I would consider this more of a technical degree if we did not that requirement.

    Many of us plan to continue to get our Master's I have not heard of anyone who does not plan to get their Bachelor's. For many of us the plan is to be back in school Fall 2004 but to also be employed by an iinstitution at that time and to have the institution pay for the rest of our education.

    I was very disappointed to see it stated in an earlier post that many ADN students are just looking for a job with a high hourly rate and benefits. Many people in our program have one of not 2 previous Associate's degrees as well as some with Bachelor's.

    I personally have made more money and had many more benefits than I will receive in my first few years as an RN.

    Nurses should be and with organization and pulling will be fairly compensated for the job that we do, however I believe that a lot people go into nursing somewhat out of vocation thatn the idea that they will make a lot of money from it.

    Also I would like to comment that I strongly agree with the writer who mentioned that it is a dumbing down of America in general. A lot of college graduates cannot write a decent paper, and how many people with Master's Degrees do you know who think it is proper to ask "where someone is AT?"
    Problably many as do I.
  6. by   traumaRUs
    I'm an ADN grad (who was an LPN before that) who is enrolled in an on-line ADN to MSN course. I don't feel that I was dumb in taking the long way around to the MSN at all. I now have ten years of nursing experience and know this is what I want to do for 20 more years. However, (and I know this will open the floodgates) - I feel that since ADN, BSN and diploma grads all take the same NCLEX - there should be no pay difference.

    Congrats on getting started. I too have done other things in my life and didn't get into nursing until I was in my 30's.
  7. by   NurseDennie
    This has turned into a VERY interesting discussion.

    What I've noticed isn't so much the lowering of standards in nursing school so much as on the floor itself.

    I was told by someone who had been helping a family member in hospital that even during the most incapacitated the family member was, she didn't get a bed bath from a nurse or tech. "We don't do that anymore." I think they change linens every 3 days to a week.

    Okay, that's just surface stuff. But if you've worked on a floor, how many times have you asked for help/staffing/whatever and been told "we can't... we don't have.... DO THE BEST YOU CAN DO."

    You know that all your patients are receiving lower standards of nursing care on days like that.

    So it seems like some people say that their program has been relaxed a bit, but most do not. Some even say that standards are higher.

    I think that it's reasonable for nursing school standards to be higher today, because the graduate nurse is facing a MORE challenging atmosphere, and needs to be BETTER prepared.



  8. by   TheLionessRN
    So much for me to say, I don't know where to start! First of all, I entered nursing with a BSN on the urging of my mother, who has her AD after being an LPN. She assured me all along the way that my education was more thorough than hers. But is has no bearing on the actual bedside portion of nursing. I think one of the problems, and this has been addressed clearly in earlier posts, is that a new nurse fresh out of school who had no previous experience as a tech is going to be appalled at the fact that she got a college education and is wiping butts. BUT, if the hospital is paying for an RN, then that is money that isn't being spent on probably two aides for the same amount of money. I talked to a new RN just this afternoon and he was concerned about the tech portion of his job at this facility. I think that is a big factor in what nurses think of this profession.
    Someone asked earlier about the military/VA method of treating the different education levels of nursing. I work for VA and did some looking into the military after I got out of school. In the military, that BSN degree means being commissioned as an officer and being in the medical branch. An ADN can become an officer but must first enlist, if I understood correctly. In the VA system, there are 4 levels of RN and then there are steps within the levels that determine pay grade. Because of my BSN, I was hired as an RN2 step 2....the step based on my years as an RN.
    Directly answering the original question in this thread, nursing schools can only go so far in "dumbing down" the curriculum because a certain percentage of total grads have to pass NCLEX every year for the school to maintain accrediitation. My school spent a great deal of time on critical thinking skills and had a very tight entry level requirement. What I noted in my particular graduating class was that the students with the high GPA and low entry test scores were able to graduate with honors but didn't pass NCLEX the first time. A full third of our graduating class failed the first time they took the test!
    Our school also had a different track for ADNs getting their BSN. They only took classes that are not offered by ADN programs, but they also had to take an additional pharm course and were required to do some extra stuff with the rest of us students in an almost teaching capacity, such as assist in our clinical labs. It was interesting.
    Better stop typing now.....getting long winded.