After 40 years of practicing as a registered nurse, including management, I take exception to the commentary that says nurses with bachelor’s degrees are a better nursing workforce. Education can never be taken away and often offers advancement in a career, but it does not guarantee a dedicated workforce. Research and academia are important parts of nursing, but the most important part is patient care.
Nurses who give hands-on care to patients also give them and their families comfort and information. Filling the basic needs of the patient; blood draws, insertion of intravenous lines and catheters; medication administration and recognizing changes in the patient’s condition and taking the proper action — these are primary duties for for nurses and have been since the beginning of time.
Going into hospitals for that initial year of experience after graduation — necessary in most cases to move on to other aspects of nursing – means bachelor-degree nurses are being taught, in many cases, by lesser-degreed but more patient-care-knowledgeable nurses.
Asking everyone interested in a nursing career to spend $120,000 to $160,000 over four years is not practical. Good nurses are not always able to, or don’t desire to, pursue a four-year degree; but they have the love of the profession and work very hard to fulfill their patients’ needs.
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Leslie Berger, R.N.