Nursing Shortages and Continuing Education

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Nursing Shortages and Continuing Education
The debate continues over the reason for the shortage of nurses, especially at the bachelor’s degree level, and what can be done to attract more associate degree nurses (ADN /RN) to continue their education into the baccalaureate degree (BSN) level. Although a shortage of all nurses across the spectrum is concerning, it is most acutely felt at the baccalaureate level where only 30 percent of the nursing workforce holds a BSN degree (source). Doctor Janine Spencer, author of “Increasing RN-BSN Enrollments: Facilitating Articulation Through Curriculum Reform,” originally published in The Journal of Continuing Education in Nursing, makes a case for curriculum reform at the RN to BSN level. This paper will briefly summarize that article. The complex issues facing the medical profession today doubles with the extreme shortage of nurses, indicates a more intensive demand of higher education in the nursing profession. The benefits of baccalaureate training are significant in comparison to the training of an associate’s degree nurse. The baccalaureate trained nurse exhibits a broader knowledge in all aspects of the healthcare environment and has a more solid foundation of critical thinking and problem solving. Additionally, the baccalaureate program promotes leadership skills which are vital for establishing a positive work environment especially with today’s almost crippling shortage of a highly-effective nursing workforce. However, the associate degree training is not without its many benefits, which includes opening the door quickly to entry-level nurses. Beginning nurses are able to enter the field with a basic knowledge of technical skills with little time constraint and at minimal expense. With only 16 to 20 percent of all RN’s returning to continue their education into the BSN program (source), the question must be raised as to the obstacles these nurses face which prevent them from doing so. The issue of...