Why is education not valued within our profession? - page 7

why is education not highly valued within the nursing profession? think about the large scheme of other "professions". education is held in high regard. why is this not the case in nursing? ... Read More

  1. by   Veneta Masson
    Please forgive this lengthy contribution to the discussion, but I've given the matter of nursing education a lot of thought. What follows is an excerpt from the chapter called "A Good Nurse" in a book I wrote called "Ninth Street Notebook--Voice of a Nurse in the City."

    ...As an Associate Degree student, I acquired a basic understanding of illness and learned to use the fundamental nursing skills to nurse persons with various diseases and disabilities. As a student in a baccalaureate program, I improved my communication skills and was introduced to nursing outside the hospital while expanding my general knowledge of the social sciences and humanities. As a master's student in community health nursing, I studied public health, epidemiology, nursing theory, research, and teaching--but had little contact with patients. As a post-master's student in a nurse practitioner program, I learned a great deal about pathophysiology, pharmacology, and clinical medicine--but nothing new about nursing.

    I sometimes wonder what would have happened had I not returned to school after finishing my Associate Degree. Would I be a less effective nurse, or a better one? After all, I would have 26 years of experience by now, uninterrupted by breaks for continued education and jobs that took me away from hands-on nursing.

    It is a moot point. But the question of what makes a good nurse deserves an answer. Here is mine: Unlike medicine, which is a body of knowledge with applications for the diagnosis and treatment of disease, nursing is first and foremost an act, a process. Not the problem-solving process translated into nursing jargon, but the process of healing through care and nurture. You don't learn it from lectures or books as well as you learn it by watching, listening, and doing. It is performance art. Like dancing: Like playing a musical instrument. Most of what I know about hospital nursing I learned my first year in practice from Ruby Wright, an LPN, and Reiko Hatakeda, an RN. What I know about nursing in the community I learned as I went along from my own experience and my colleagues.

    So why do I persist in trying to judge nurses according to their education and credentials and not according to their mastery of the healing art? I have to admit to a lingering expectation that there is some straightforward way to achieve and measure nursing expertise. And I want to believe that all the years I spent in classrooms and libraries have made me a good nurse. They have certainly made me a more astute diagnostician and a better technician. They have equipped me to work in certain settings and capacities. They have given me a deeper understanding of human nature and contributed to my intellectual maturity. But if I am a good nurse, I believe I owe it to practice and to informal learning from other nurses at all "levels". They and my patients are the only ones who can grant me that prized credential.
  2. by   Mito
    If your content with your education that is all that really matters. But please give up this constant BSN vs. ADN crap, I myself have read several of your posts that refer to your superior school and program (in your opinion that is).

    Remember this famous quote : Self proclamation is no recomendation.

  3. by   BrandyBSN
    That was not the point of this debate at all. If you wish to make it such, that is your decision. I have not responded to any of the ADN VS BSN part of this for several days, and I have only responded when personally attacked. This debate is not about me, it is about why further education is not encouraged or seen as an asset. Read into it however you wish, criticize me directly as much as you wish. I won't apologize for having an opinion.

    As far as post about my "superior" school? I dont recall those. If someone asks about programs, i tell whats good and bad about mine, entrance requirements, etc. Why does this bother you? Did I make you feel insecure? If so, i will apologize for damaging your ego, but not for the information relayed. It is fine with my if my thoughts and opinions are with the minority. I've never been much of a follower anyway, and I am used to being out on a limb by myself. But me, my posting contributions and my opinions are not leaving any time soon.

    In the proud minority,
  4. by   NurseTami
    i feel that most places of employment do value education- most are willing to reimburse-aren't they?

    i am 35 therefore i have life experience that doesn't come from a text. i also practiced nursing as an lpn for 10 years, then recieved my adn. i will go do the bsn thing, i need a break first.

    i have known nurses with advanced degrees who do not know up from down. so, imho, an advanced degree doesn't mean any more than "a pisshole in the snow" if the person who wears it lacks the common sense and basic nursing skills to show it. however, i hope that i never become so enmeshed in my own education or knowledge that i forget that others may have the same without a degree to prove it.
  5. by   canoehead
    When I first got my BSN I was to get a raise of $200 a year which means I'll start making money.....ummmm......never.

    So there is an arguement to be made that anyone posessing a BSN is particularly stupid when it comes to simple math skills.

    I think I will do a research project on the accuracy of checkbook balancing as compared to nursing education level. Think I could get a grant for that?
  6. by   Q.
    So...because there are apparent idiots who at the same time possess advanced degrees, does that mean advanced degrees should not be encouraged?

    Also, what about the idiots who DON'T possess an advanced degree? Where do they fit in?

    I think the whole argument about how there are idiot RNs and compared to LPNs, and idiot BSNs compared to ADNs and so on and so forth is completely moot because that has absolutely nothing to do with the concept of higher education. That has to do with the individual person, which exists in all walks of life, not just nursing.

    The argument should focus on why we don't value education in our field, in any capacity. Are certified nurses paid more? Typically not. Are BSNs paid more? Usually a mere 50cents, or not at all - like myself. So, what is the incentive to furthering your education and knowledge? Experience says alot, yes, but I'm sorry, there is no substitute for formal education. And I also don't see any downsides to formal education either. It's a win-win situation.

    Susy K
    MSN candidate
  7. by   nightingale

    Thank you for joining in on the discussion. I hope to hear some more of your sensitive nonjudgemental thoughts.... p.s. love the yin/yang too!

    WE ALL have much to give and to share... if only....

  8. by   Mito
    I don't feel threatened by anyone with any level of education. I think, however, your asking the wrong question at the right time. Why are nurses not respected period. The answer as far as I have determined follows several schools of thought;

    1. nursing is just starting to build the body of knowledge and educational requirements to become a seperate profession.

    2. the profession is dominated by the type of individual (male or female) who is easily manipulated by their employeers re: mandatory overtime, poor wages (taking into account the level of responsibility) and unsafe pt. loads "what I like to refer to as the Nightengale Effect"

    3. there are much more lucrative professions being offered in both college and university these days

  9. by   JMP
    As with probally many others, I have been watching this thread and can not resisit any longer.
    As some of you know, I am a Canadian. Fairly recent grad. Second career.

    I attended a large cardiac science conference today. Most of the presenters where MD's or PhD RN's. Their focus.....research. One or two had their masters. It was all very interesting. They are paid much more than the staff RN ( like me). However, they have a role to play ( like me).

    Some of the people posting ( like Brandy and Mito) are student nurses, asking questions. This is a good thing. However, they will have to find their own way in the "real world"........which is SO SO very much different than the "student world". It is kind of like my grandfather saying " you can't put an old head on young shoulders". We can rant and rave with our ideas and thoughts, but until you have been there, AND got the t-shirt......well you know the rest of the story..........experience is a great teacher.

    One final thought...........I have never heard anyone complain that they got TOO MUCH education. Any BScN nurse I know, is happy with their education.........masters... happy.

    HOWEVER, lots and lots of RPN's (LPN's)..aides.. wish they had more. Education is never a bad thing. Education is a priviledge. It is a personal goal. It is a treasure no one can take away from you. Get it. Keep it. It will never lose it's value.
  10. by   nurs4kids
    Vanetta, JPM and Mito, thank you all for great points!!

    I'm not convinced education isn't valued in nursing. The more education a nurse has and the more certifications a nurse holds makes her/him more marketable. The more educated/certified, the higher on the ladder a nurse is capable of climbing. The lack of value in education comes in bedside nursing. Could this be because the expectations at the bedside are all equal? If you hold a higher degree yet you CHOOSE to remain at the bedside, should you be paid more than another nurse doing the same job?? Should I be paid the same as an ICU nurse although her patients require much more knowledge AND skill? What if I hold a BSN and she holds an ADN, should I STILL be paid more because I have more education? Are there other ways to show value other than monetary compensation? I'm not convinced that someone should make more based solely on higher education. Experience DOES play a huge role in ANY job, this is why job
    requirements not only have education minimums, but ALSO experience minimums. Many PROFESSIONS will even take experience OVER education, so the asset of experience can NOT be downplayed. One minute we are saying we want equal pay for equal work, then next minute we're wanting to be compensated by education; regardless of what job we're doing. If that's how it can be done, then I think I'll go work in dietary and lean on my ADN for pay. After all, the work's easier and the liability isn't nearly as high.

    Education is important and SHOULD be encouraged. As for the perception of education in nursing, how are we judging it's value?? I'm getting mixed signals here. Is it valued by monetary compensation?? Or are we just speaking of how we, as nurses, value education? Is it being judged by how the public views nursing? If education is NOT valued in nursing, then what motivates a BSN to get a MSN, a ADN to get a BSN, a LPN to become a RN?? Don't try to tell me these nurses are working full time jobs, caring for kids and family AND returning to school just because they, themselves, hunger for education. They hunger for money, and that comes with more education. What other way do we expect to be shown value??
    Last edit by nurs4kids on Nov 17, '01
  11. by   nurs4kids
    LOL...since this post has been moved to "patient safety and care", I gotta ask..

    is this to imply those with "less" education are now considered as a risk to patient safety and care??
  12. by   Julie, RN
    Food for thought.....
    When I was in high school there were 3 tracks to finish my diploma:
    1. The college track-finish all 4 yrs and take more math, science and a foriegn language.
    2. The non-college track-finish all 4 yrs and take more electives and/or work study.
    3. GED- finish 2 yrs, drop out as a sophomore and then take the GED exam.

    I am going to leave it at this, just something to think about in relation to our current discussion.

    Julie M.,RN
    Knowledge IS Power!
  13. by   MollyJ
    Witness here the cost of the three levels of Registered Nursing preparation.

    Hurt feelings
    Anecdotal reports of the ill-prepared nurse from one background or another that furthers divisivenss.

    The BEST (but not the only) reason we need a single level or preparation: so that we can discontinue having this painful and destructive conversation.