Moreover, other key benefits of a baccalaureate education include increased self-direction, improved ethical conduct, enhanced performance, increased responsibility, and professional enhancement. (Leonard, 2003) This situation is what they call the RN to BSN program that encourages registered nurses with ADN or diploma course as entry-levels for nursing licensure, to go back to school and get a bachelor's degree. http://www.y-axis.com/healthcare/career/facts.shtml, para 11)
In 2004, there were 600 RN-to-BSN programs in the United States. Accelerated master's degree programs in nursing also are available. These programs combine 1 year of an accelerated BSN program with 2 years of graduate study. In 2004, there were 137 RN-to-MSN programs. " http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos083.htm, para 13, http://www.careeroverview.com/nurse-careers.html, para 14 & http://www.career-planning-education.com/health-sciences/registered-nurse.htm,para3)
Because a bachelor's degree in nursing offers great opportunities for registered nurse, the number of RNs availing such privileges is increasing. At the same time, hospitals are also considering BSN as the minimum requirement for employment. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the largest employer of registered nurses, has announced the National Nursing Initiative that set bachelor's degree as the minimum required educational level for all of its employees even the existing hires - for whom are given a deadline of until 2005 to finish their baccalaureate degree. http://www.minoritynurse.com/features/undergraduate/05-15-00a.html, para 8)
On the other hand, as much as these registered nurses are trying their best to live up to the requirements in the nursing career, there are risks that this trend may affect the quality of service that the RNs may provide to its patients.
Registered nurses fear returning to school because they do not feel they can manage both work and school in addition to their personal life. The majority of RNs returning to school are confronted simultaneously with the roles of parent, employee, student, and homemaker. Most of the RN students are found to be older with families and some are single parents with small children. (Leonard, 2003)
The thought of returning back to school may seem exciting but these nurses are confronted with the conflicting roles that they play, as well as the strain from the challenge of juggling schedules. (Leonard, 2003)
These shifting roles as parents, students, and health care provider can be confusing and demanding for the registered nurses. It may also be too exhausting for them as well that may eventually reflect on their performance at work.
Looking into the issue, a lengthy discussion regarding the nursing program that the students must choose is no longer necessary. Time remains as precious as ever and majority might even choose the associate Degree in Nursing. But a baccalaureate degree is yet the best choice even as it may take one long enough to finish it.
Nursing involves not only the technical aspect of healthcare since it at the same time involves critical analysis and management for situations that requires urgent decision-making. These situations may be too critical for the patients as much as it is critical for the healthcare practitioners - that includes the registered nurses. Specialized courses are offered with BSN that are significant in the growing complexities concerning the healthcare industry. Nursing services are becoming more flexible as well as the needs of the patients have become more conventional. Home care and other related situations that involve community nursing services are studied under BSN thus making it more appropriate as the entry level for registered nurses.
On the other hand, imposing the rules on requiring the RNs who had been through AD and diploma programs must also consider those who were already employed, must first weigh the advantages and disadvantages of returning back to school to take up a baccalaureate degree in nursing. It is true that there will be bigger and wider opportunities for an RN who has a BSN degree, but if the quality of work will be sacrificed, this may not be the best choice at all.
In order to address this concern, the government must also provide assistance for registered nurses taking up RN to BSN programs that would help them cope up with the conflicting roles that they will be playing in the society.
Education, Training & Qualifications. www.career-planning-education.com/health- sciences/registered-nurse.htm http://www.career-planning-education.com/health- sciences/registered-nurse.htm. January 21, 2007.
Entry Level BSN Program. http://www.nova.edu/nursing/entry/index.html. January 21, 2007.
Leonard, T. 2003. RN to BSN -- advice on returning to school.(registered nurses pursing baccalaureate degree). AORN Journal.
Nursing - General Registered Nurse. http://www.jobprofiles.org/heageneralrn.htm. January 21,
Palmer, P.R.N. To B.S.N. http://www.minoritynurse.com/features/undergraduate/05-15-00a.html.
Registered Nurses. http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos083.htm. January 21, 2007.
Registered Nurse (RN) and Nursing Careers, Jobs, and Employment Information
http://www.careeroverview.com/nurse-careers.html. January 21, 2007.
The Baccalaureate Degree in Nursing as Minimal Preparation for Professional Practice. http://www.aacn.nche.edu/Publications/positions/baccmin.htm. January 21, 2007.
To BSN or Not to BSN - That is the Nurse's Question!
Your Nursing Career: A Look at the Facts. http://www.y-axis.com/healthcare/career/facts.shtml.