I write in response to the topic of the Entry into Practice. I am a nurse with an Associate Degree (AD) and have one class left in order to finish my Bachelor of Science in Nursing Degree (BSN). This additional degree will not increase my salary or my skills as a nurse. I work in the Cardiac Cath Lab at a hospital where none of the nurses have a 4-year degree. A BSN is not even required to advance on our clinical ladder. This makes me wonder why anyone with an AD would spend thousands of dollars to obtain the BSN, unless they do it for personal satisfaction. I personally am completing this degree for my own benefit, and may continue with school. However, completing this BSN degree for personal satisfaction only, without any additional pay increase or other benefits is a very expensive investment.
I believe this lack of recognition for additional education is contributing to the nursing shortage. It is expensive to go to college. After graduation from college a nurse's salary barely increases 3% a year. In contrast college graduates who go into computers or business receive considerably higher salary increases as time goes on. Additionally, they do not have to work evenings, nights, weekends, or holidays. I graduated in 1992 in a class of 40; I speak to five of these fellow graduates regularly, and only one still practices as a full-time staff nurse in a clinical agency. Some have left the field only after practicing for a few years, while others have gone into research, or work only part-time like myself. I hope this information helps to explain, from the trenches, the need to recognize the value of nurses who have invested a considerable amount of time and money in earning the BSN, by providing them with greater salary increases and better working hours (or compensation for working these undesirable hours).
Julie Williams, RN