Educational Entry Level for Professional Nursing Practice
The first position paper calling for baccalaureate degree as the minimum requirement for entry into professional nursing was released in 1965 by the American Nurses Association. This stimulates an ongoing frustrating debate among nurses. The Occupational Outlook Handbook published by the US Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, nursing is the largest healthcare profession with 2.5 million jobs and is projected to generate 587,000 more jobs between 2006-2016. Despite strength in numbers nurses are the least educated of all the interdisciplinary healthcare team members with whom they collaborate. Teams consist of physicians’ pharmacists, speech pathologists, and physical and occupational therapists. Patients are living longer than expected and health care providers need the ability to think critically and provide health care services at levels never before imagined. Each of these disciplines recognized the importance of higher education to deliver appropriate patient care.
The health care industry is changing rapidly. Because of advances in medicine, technology and lifesaving techniques. Patients have a better chance of surviving traumatic injury, life threatening disease processes, and delicate surgical procedures that ever before. Results of various studies suggest baccalaureate prepared nurses are more likely to demonstrate professional behaviors important to patient safety. RN’s educated at baccalaureate level or above have lower risk adjusted mortality rates and lower rates of failure to rescue. The failure to rescue relates to deaths in patients with serious complications. Nursing is a knowledge based profession. Researchers have found perceived differences that are particularly related to education. These differences are perceived to be related to nurses with bachelor’s degrees: •
Greater critical thinking skills
Less task oriented
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