Recently, a small group consisting of three Breckenridge nursing students researched the education levels of a registered nurse. The title registered nurse is held in high regards respectively. Each nurse and perspective nurse is an individual and has a different home life from one another. Some of them may have to work a full time job to keep a roof over their head. Others may work part time or enough to keep their license active. All of those factors determine the individual’s level of education and commitment to work.
Nurses possessing RN-to-BSN degrees are often viewed more favorably by employers because they tend to have much more clinical and practical experience than some BSN holders who complete a bachelor’s degree directly out of high school (Bourgoin, et al). Today some states and many hospitals have presented a new education conflict for the working registered nurse. Many of them are requiring their employees to continue their education to a bachelor’s degree in nursing. There are both pros and cons to this conflict. On the positive side, the employer will pay for the employee’s tuition.
In return, the employee will sign a work contract for a certain amount of years. Signing a work contract can sound discouraging because it is a legal binding obligation. If the contract is defaulted, the employee will have to pay back their tuition. On the other hand, signing a contract isn’t such a bad idea. With the high unemployment rate in today’s poor economy, one will be guaranteed a job for a certain amount of time. With the shortage of nurses and nurse educators, most schools are no longer offering an associate’s degree in nursing.
Some have made a streamline that allows you to graduate with your associates and bachelor’s degree at the same time. Typically this type of program is accelerated. On the down side, this may not be an option for a parent or a full time employee. The heavy work load can be hard to juggle. According to Megginson, “the RN to baccalaureate level is significant to nursing in four areas that include credible professional identity, replacement of aging and retiring nurse academician, managers and leaders and the production of independent, critically thinking professionals and provision of safe, quality patient care”(Megginson 47).
For most staff and floor RN positions there is little or no pay difference among two-year and four-year degrees. The advantage to a BSN degree in terms of salary is mostly in the RN’s ability to move into managerial and administrative positions, which typically require bachelors or master’s degrees and pay higher salaries. For the over achieving individual who wants to further their work responsibility and title, the associate’s degree to master degree in nursing may be a good idea. This accelerated program will allow the registered nurse to obtain a master’s degree in only two years as a full time student.
A master’s degree will allow the individual to work as a mid-wive, specialized nurse practitioner, and an educator. This can broaden the horizon as to what a nurse can do and also increase their salary. There are three routes to becoming a registered nurse or RN. Diploma programs which are available mostly through hospitals and health systems, Associate degree programs that result in an Associate of Science in nursing degree, Bachelor’s degrees are awarded in the form of a Associate degrees in nursing usually take two to three years to complete, while BSN degrees are four year endeavors.
RN’s who hold associate degrees or diplomas usually enroll into the RN-to-BSN programs because they take less time to complete. Some similarities of these programs exist. One similarity is all programs must take the same state board exam to become license and the passing rates for all degrees are also similar. Another similarity is that all three programs must have the required minimum knowledge in order to provide safe and effective care. Obtaining a BSN degree makes a registered nurse more attractive for promotions, including managerial and administrative jobs.
RNs that hold a BSN degree are a step closer to earning a master’s degree, which often is a prerequisite for some management positions. Because of the advancement opportunities available to those with BSN degrees, the RN-to-BSN program is an appealing option that allows registered nurses to continue working in the field while earning their bachelor’s degrees at an accelerated pace. Any of these programs are offered online, allowing working RN’s to work a schedule that is convenient for them while continuing their education (Megginson, 48). Upon completion, a nurse with a BSN may earn a significantly higher salary than an RN.
According to the American Nurses Association, hospital staff nurses may earn around $35,000 per year, while those with advanced education and specialization may earn $45,000 per year or more depending on specialty. The nursing profession continues to argue whether a nurse who holds a BSN is more desirable than the Associates-Degree prepared nurse. While some say that the level of education isn’t relevant once a nurse is orientated to a certain setting, others disagree and assert that the baccalaureate degree prepared nurses demonstrate higher levels of skill in communication, delegation, assessment, teaching and supervision.
According to Megginson, “the ADN programs focus on preparing the nurse with considerable clinical experience and technical nursing skills needed to provide patient care at the bedside, while the BSN program concentrates on evidence based practice, research, leadership skills and communication. ” An additional difference is the target client. Associate degree grads are prepared to meet the needs of the patient, while the baccalaureate grads scope is widened to include the family and interdisciplinary groups.
With the new millennium in full swing, the nursing profession is struggling with the increasing urgency to change its culture by creating and implementing the level of competence in professional practice that is required by consumers, policy makers, employers and others (Lenburg). Documented competence is essential and likely to become mandatory in the near future for initial and continuing licensure and certification for employment. Works Cited Lenburg, C. (Sept. 30, 1999) “Redesigning Expectations for Initial and Continuing Competence For Contemporary Nursing Practice”.
Online Journal of Issues in Nursing. Vol 4, No. 2, Manuscript 1. Available www. nursingworld. org/MainMenuCategories/ANAMarketplace/ANAPeriodicals/OJIN/TableofContents/Volume41999/No2Sep1999/RedesigningExpectationsforInitialandContinuingCompetence. aspx Michael Bourgoin, et al. “The Gap Between Education Preferences And Hiring Practices. ” Nursing Management 42. 9 (2011): 23-28. Academic Search Premier. Web. 3 Nov. 2011. MEGGINSON, LUCY A. “RN-BSN Education: 21St Century Barriers And Incentives. ” Journal Of Nursing Management 16. 1 (2008): 47-55. Academic Search Premier. Web. 3 Nov. 2011