Required Educational Preparation for Nursing Practice
There is much controversy about the educational requirement to prepare nurses for practice. Rather the minimal education level be a diploma, associate degree in nursing (ADN), or bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) a need for an agreed upon education level for practice is necessary. There is a wide range of nursing related practices all of which do not require the same amount of education and this author agrees with the National League of Nursing (NLN) concerning scope of practice and preparation for the field of nursing; that an ADN or diploma program is a sufficient level of education for technical nursing practice and the BSN should be the minimum for practice as a professional nurse (Black, 2014, p. 136). This author thinks that the option for an ADN is vital to nursing as a whole, however agrees with the idea that any career requiring only two years of schooling is technical and not professional. This places ADNs in the same category as technicians and assistance in other health care fields (Taylor, 2008, p. 613). This paper examines the necessity for nursing education beyond an associate degree for professional nursing practice in order to meet the increase of complex medical needs.
Why Baccalaureate Degree in Nursing?
The need for a BSN is for entry into nursing practice is widely supported dating back to 1965 when the American Nurses Association (ANA) published a paper stating the BSN to be the minimal level of education for entry in to practice (Taylor, 2008, p. 611). In the opinion of this author, in order to move the practice of nursing from a technical job to a professional career it is vital to have a minimal education of a BSN. Having a BSN helps to level the educational variances between other health care team members that nurses collaborate with, all of whom recognize the importance of higher education for adequate patient care. Out of the health care teams nurses work with, most not only require a bachelor’s degree for entry level practice but an advance degree is standard (Taylor, 2008, p. 612). The need of this higher education is supported further by a study that showed the relationship of higher nursing education with better care outcomes concerning the patient (Taylor, 2008, p. 613).
BSN as Minimum Education
This author thinks that an associate degree should be equivalent to the role of a licensed practical nurse (LPN) and agrees with North Dakota’s stance on making this a standard. In 1987 North Dakota adopted the standard as ADN being the education requirement for an LPN and a BSN being the minimal level of education needed for practice as a RN; this was later repealed. More recently New Jersey has made a standard that all entry level nurses earn a baccalaureate degree within 10 years of entrance into the nursing profession (Taylor, 2008 p. 616). The changes made in the standard of minimal education needed for a RN by North Dakota and New Jersey are the kind of...