The difference between school and life? In school, you’re taught a lesson and then given a test. In life, you’re given a test that teaches you a lesson. ~Tom Bodett
Region 5 Chair
This time I would like to make you aware of a trend that some Boston hospitals have initiated which is to hire registered nurses that are bachelor prepared instead of hiring associate degree nurses.
I understand and respect the AD, BS and the masters-prepared nurses that work as staff nurses. The point of this eye opening trend for us all is that over time the profession of nursing has changed to accommodate the volume and the needs of the patients we serve.
Facts and the history of the nursing profession show that we have come a long way from Nightingale to today. We have learned that experience in practice is priceless to the profession, regardless of the entry level. I can accurately report that ten years ago, the greater Boston hospitals had in place phenomenal educational programs for each nursing specialty and some examples are cardiology, renal, pulmonary and transplantation.
In the last ten years we have worked very hard to set an even margin so all nurses working in greater Boston receive similar benefits and opportunities. Although we have work experience in a number of the hospitals and have relationships with the nurses in greater Boston, I can safely report that we now face a discrepancy in the educational opportunities available in the workplace. The opportunity to continue our education and to receive an advanced degree are not only expensive, but with reduction in staff it has become challenging to secure days off to attend school or to schedule online courses and certification requirements.
Working as nurses we never discriminate against our colleagues for the level of education each carries. We accept and reflect on the amount of experience each of us has to offer and consult with each other to benefit the patients’ health and to enrich our own practice. Education does not end at graduation time but continues on and never ends.
My question to us as nurses is: Does it really matter at which educational level we enter the professional practice? Isn’t it the on-the-job experience and education that creates a safe delivery of care to the patients we serve? Furthermore, do the hospitals have the right to dictate or select by educational level (when again, the license to practice nursing is the same)?
I have met with nursing students from different schools, from UMASS to Quincy College, and I can report to you that they are informed of the hospitals’ preferences and their responses vary. At the end of the day both the AD and BS nurses will hold the same license to practice, no restrictions. Some will have the opportunity to continue on for an advance degree; some will not. This should not play a major factor in who will hold a position as a staff nurse.
MNA/NNU has a number of educational programs to enhance your knowledge no matter what your educational level and provides ongoing nursing education. We are here to provide you with the best we can offer. Please take pride in our profession and in your membership to this wonderful organization. MNA/NNU has created a level of respect, education and protection of our profession, not only on the state of Massachusetts but in the country.