June 5, 2017
Should a Bachelor’s Degree (BSN) be the minimum level of education for a Nurse? This subject is being considered now for many reasons. The traditional role of the nurse as the bedside caregiver and the hospital as the traditional site for healthcare delivery is changing. Healthcare is delivered in expanded community based and clinical treatment settings and advanced technology and equipment place greater demands on the nurse. They require nursing personnel who can function with more independence in clinical decision making and case management skills. Often nurses are performing the role of the traditional clinical caregiver – teaching patients how to comply with treatment protocols and maintain good health. Today’s registered nurse not only must communicate effectively with patients and other health care professionals, but also must have broad competency as a provider, designer, manager, and coordinator of care.
BSN Offers Broader Training
Nurses with a baccalaureate degree are prepared to practice in all health care settings because they get this exposure during their 4 years of schooling. The BSN is qualified to deliver care in private homes, outpatient centers and neighborhood clinics. Plus the liberal arts learning, critical thinking and maturity gained in a collegiate environment help better prepare the nurse for decision making and humanistic skills. This experience and skill help nurses:
• make quick and sometimes life and death decisions
• design and manage a comprehensive plan of nursing care
• understand a patient’s treatment
• identify symptoms and danger signs
• supervise other nursing personnel and support staff
• master advanced technology
• guide patients through the maze of health care resources in a community
• educate patients on health care options and how to adopt healthy lifestyles
Research Supports a Change in the Law
Research from organizations like the Institute of Medicine and The American Association of Colleges Nursing and the medical community’s consensus is that nurses need a BSN degree. Legislators have been listening to this recommendation and several states have proposed the idea of a “BSN in 10” law, which would require all new nurses to undergo an RN-BSN degree completion program within 10 years. No states have passed it yet – but quite a few hospitals have made this their hiring policy for nurses.
Many nursing employers offer a tuition reimbursement program that would include the curriculum for a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Licensed nurses interested in pursuing a BSN should ask their employer if tuition reimbursement is available, or, perhaps find a company that offers tuition reimbursement for nurses.