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The Baccalaureate Degree: A Requirement For Entry Level Nursing Practice

950 words - 4 pages

Unifying the educational background of nurses is important for presenting a well-structured and strong profession. Since the American Nurses Association developed its stance in the Nursing’s Social Policy Statement in 1995 (Bishop, DiMattio, Fields, and Jacobs, 1998, p.225), the debate over the educational requirement for entry into nursing practice is still an issue to this day. As of now, the educational requirement to take the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses is through a diploma program, an associate degree, or a baccalaureate degree. How then, does the legitimacy of nursing as a profession stand against other professions, such as law, education, and ...view middle of the document...

An associate degree simply cannot match the diverse academic strength of a baccalaureate degree. Some individuals, including the authors of The Baccalaureate Degree in Nursing As an Entry-Level Requirement for Professional Nursing Practice, have even gone as far to suggest that “…it is no longer realistic to think that the discipline [of nursing] can be adequately mastered within 4 years, let alone 2” (Bishop et al., 1998, p.231). The nursing profession should establish the minimum requirements of a baccalaureate degree, and even possibly a master’s degree, as an industry standard for achievement before its members are eligible for entrance into nursing practice. Therefore, it is essential to reevaluate what the associate degree is truly offering to the nursing community in today’s workforce.
In addition to being an attractive option for the well-rounded education it provides, a baccalaureate degree also prepares nurses for an advancing health care system. Due to rapidly evolving technologies and medical procedures, the life expectancy of patients is increasing, which necessitates the need for an enhanced education (Taylor, 2008, p.611). Nursing is a profession with which dealing with the life or death of its clients is a daily occurrence. At the risk of the patient, nurses cannot afford to fall behind as the health care system progresses forward. Requiring a baccalaureate degree for entry into nursing practice is an appropriate solution for adequately preparing nurses for the future. Although associate degree programs are producing the highest number of nurses in today’s workforce, the educational extent of these programs will soon no longer suffice. As explained by the authors of Should the Entry Into Nursing Practice Be the Baccalaureate Degree?, “eventually, the complexity of individual health status and the advancement of technology will outpace the basic levels of nursing education” (Taylor, 2008, p.619). Therefore, it is pertinent for entry into nursing...

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