Nursing is an extremely interesting profession. It’s either absolutely off the deep end or it’s totally unique. From the entry levels of practice to the terminal degrees available, nursing doesn’t look like, act like or educate like any other profession.
And it shouldn’t. Because nursing isn’t like any other profession.
Let’s take entry level into practice. How’s that for jumping into the frying pan?
You can start nursing with an AA degree that should be two years but can’t really be done in two years so it’s actually more like three years with all the pre-requisites done first.
Or…you can go for a BS degree which takes four years and can actually be done in four years unless you have to go a summer session (like my daughter), which really makes it over four years. This is supposed to be the desired entry level for practice. HOLD YOUR FIRE, I SAID “SUPPOSED TO BE”!
If you already have a BS or a BA degree, you can go into an entry level Master’s Degree program because it is really dumb to go back and get an AA degree because you already have a BS degree and you really don’t need one of those again, right, and the MS degree program is only 12 – 18 months.
And somehow through all this, you have become an RN.
But…now you are wondering if you should go for a higher degree….
If you have an AA and you want to get your BSN you can go back to school either on campus or online, for which you will pay a lot of money as there are a lot of RN-to-BSN programs out there to help you if you think maybe you should do it as the BSN is SUPPOSED to be the desired degree and you feel as though it is your professional duty to do it, but you won’t get any more money for it or anything, but you will have BSN after your name which, if you are like me, is worth every penny and every bead of sweat….
Sorry, I digress…
Or, if you want to do something other that bedside nursing you can take that BSN and get your BSN-to-MSN either on campus or online or if you are really ambitions you can go right for the RN-to-MSN programs since you have an AA degree under your belt and now you can be a manager or a nursing instructor or work in public health and make approximately 50% less than you did as a staff nurse, but hey, you are willing to sacrifice for your profession.
But it gets better!
You can take that BSN or MSN and head for a doctoral program if you really want to do research and teach, that would be a PhD, or wait!, you want to be an advanced practice nurse or nurse practitioner as they are called and now you have to have your doctoral degree when you only used to need an MSN but they changed the rules and now to do that you need a doctoral degree called the DNP, which is different from the PhD because it is a practice doctorate as opposed to a research doctorate…..
No wonder folks outside the profession think we’re off-the-wall.
But we aren’t.
Our profession is flexible.
In spite of the light-hearted take on the educational opportunities, if you read between the lines what you see is that there is an entry level into nursing for everyone at any stage of their lives who are willing to work for that “RN” after their names.
What you see is an unbelievable number of opportunities to advance your education in a variety of ways. If you want it, it is available. No four-year-undergrad-followed-by-three-years-graduate school, like lawyers. Unless that is what you want to do. We have options. In that, we are unique.
What you see is a profession that has two terminal degrees in the PhD and DNP. Now, I’ve heard there is some controversy about this, having two doctoral pathways in nursing. I see it as flexibility in being able to receive a higher education that will take your career where you want it – to the classroom/research or to an increased responsibility for patient care.
Nursing does not have a lockstep education pattern. We don’t have a “one size fits all” education system because we don’t have “one size fits all” nursing opportunities.
And we most definitely don’t have “one size fits all” nursing personalities.
Think about it. Nursing allows changes in specialties. Unlike law or medicine, we can change our focus and switch our area of specialty long after we’ve entered the profession.
Sure, we argue and debate amongst ourselves. All the way from the best way to become a nurse down to whether or not we have one or two terminal degree options.
But folks, we’re all nurses. We are more alike than different and at our core we are solid.
So maybe we need to come together (Beatles reference!) and realize that all the different factions of nursing need to embrace the fact that we are nurses.
We can do that, I’m sure of it.
Because nursing is unique.
And that’s why we do what we do.
**The post was originally published at Kim McAllister’s blog: Emergiblog.com**