The ever changing world of healthcare is causing debate over the need of baccalaureate-prepared nurses to the forefront. Research has shown that a high percentage of BSN-prepared nurses resulted in improved patient outcomes (Spencer, 2008). The goal is to increase the number of diploma and ADN nurses obtaining a higher level of education. The question is how to obtain this goal. Obstacles can stand in the way. Curriculums vary. This paper will focus on some of the main points discussed in an article written by Janine Spencer, RN, EdD, (July, 2008) in The Journal of Continuing Education in Nursing, 39(7), entitled Increasing RN-BSN enrollments: Facilitating articulation through curriculum reform.
There are three levels of education that allow a person to become a professional nurse: diploma, associates degree in nursing (ADN) and baccalaureate degree. There has been ongoing debate as to what should be the minimum education level. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) feels the minimum educational requirement should be the baccalaureate of science in nursing (BSN) level (Spencer, 2008).
Healthcare is a very complex profession in that it doesn’t just involve technical skills. Current trends are leading toward an aging population, poverty, uninsured, increased nursing shortages, advanced technology and a multitude of other issues (Spencer, 2008). An understanding of culture, ethics and evidence-based practice is essential. The result of baccalaureate education is ”nurses who are prepared with a broader knowledge base and are conceptualized to provide more holistic health care” (Spencer, 2008, p. 308). Neither diploma or ADN programs include in depth studies pertaining to culture, humanities, leadership, ethics or research, nor do they offer community nursing experience. This additional knowledge and experience will allow the nurse to better adapt to a constantly changing healthcare environment (Spencer, 2008).
There are many nurses who would like to expand their knowledge and opportunities by obtaining their BSN, but there are several obstacles that stand in the way. Time constraints, financial issues, repetition of classes are just to name a few. The AACN has addressed these issues and has suggested that articulation agreements need to be established. The purpose would be to have consistency among the various BSN programs. They would