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Hospitals Moving Towards Hiring Only Nurses With a BA Degree

Updated on July 28, 2011

Hospitals over the country are now leaning towards only hiring registered nurses who have a bachelor's degree

As it stands, in most states, all that is required to become a registered nurse is an associates degree. A "two-year program" finished at basically any college of your choosing and you're on the path to becoming an RN! You're ready to take care of sick patients, save lives, and help people adjust to a healthy and happy lifestyle!

Not. So. Fast.

The Cleveland Clinic has decided that their current nurses must have their bachelor's degree, and have stated that they have 2 years to obtain them. Let's go over on how stupid this choice is...

First and foremost, the nursing career is in HUGE demand. There simply are not enough nurses. Period. The wait time in emergency rooms is ridiculous, and the basic care and compassion of nurses simply isn't available to in-patients due to the amount of documentation, under-staffing, and heavy workload of the nurses today- at least not the amount of care that is preferred. It's an already high stress environment in which they work in, and the fact that they don't have enough helping hands doesn't ease the burden. And speaking of helping hands, they (the Cleveland Clinic) are phasing out LPNs already, forcing those people to obtain their associate's degree. Mandatory bachelor's degrees will not only cost jobs, but also lower the number of qualified individuals needed to work in the field. Only 16 percent of current nurses go on to get their bachelor's. 60 percent of the nurses currently working in the field have their associates. Imagine the drop in number of RNs if more hospitals apply this same standard.

Secondly, most nurses are middle aged men and women, who work overtime (see above; no staffing) and have families. Requiring an advanced degree will not only take them away from their home life (nurses are people, too), but it also costs money. While advancing one's education further is completely encouraged, it shouldn't be mandatory. Furthermore, most, if not all, states require that nurses complete "continued education" credits so they are brought up to date on current medical affairs. The current registered nurse is more than qualified to work in health care, just as he or she has been for many years.

Lastly, the "Two Year Associate's Degree" is hardly two years. There's typically a waiting list, which can range from a number of years. Then there's prerequisite classes, which can be finished in a year. Now this two year program turns in to a four or five year program. “I teach in a rural setting and a main advantage of offering a two-year RN degree is that it puts the nurse graduate to work in a shorter amount of time so they can support their family,” wrote Kim Tinsley, a nursing professor at North Arkansas College, "They cannot afford to attend four years of B.S.N. classes and not work. The A.D.N. student does sometimes take up to four years to complete their degree, but it is due to the fact that they are working (sometimes full time) and have a family to support. The average age of our student is 27. The majority of our students are either married with a family or are a single parent. They cannot afford the time nor resources to attend a four-year program.”

Current nurses should be prepared to make major life decisions within the next few years. Young individuals who plan on a career in nursing should also take note. While the pay and the satisfaction of being a nurse in a hospital setting are extremely fulfilling, you may want to take into account that you will have to work a little bit longer at it.


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