Improving Nursing Education

Health care today is continually facing different challenges as the need for improvement in technology, effective approach and quality health care professional increases. As the American population increases and the number of senior citizen swells, the presence of nurses in hospitals and other health care facilities is in demand.

There is a shift in the country’s health care needs which is now more related to chronic conditions like hypertension, arthritis, cardiovascular disease and diabetes as well as mental health conditions. This is due to the increasing aging population and spread of obesity in the country. Though it is known that chronic diseases are predominant today, our health care system is designed in favor of acute illnesses and injuries.

This shows that there is a need to make a change in nursing education. Nurses in the 20th century are educated in a different approach and the teachings and lessons are more into caring acute illnesses as well as injuries. Though it is still vital, it won’t be enough in the current health situation of the country. The patient health needs are more complex today than it was before; therefore nurses must acquire a more advanced and focused education.

Nurses today must acquire leadership qualities, evidence-based practice, research experience, improved teamwork and collaboration abilities as well as competency in particular areas like geriatrics and community and public health. Due to the development of health care technologies, nurses are expected to master technological tools and apparatuses as well as be prepared for expanding roles. That is why nurses are required to get higher levels of education. They must be educated in new ways and approaches that best suit the health care situation today. New and emerging competencies in quality improvement, decision making and team leadership must be included in nursing education.

Barriers of Nursing Education

The demand for nursing staff across North Carolina is growing considerably. But so are the limitations preventing access to the right nursing education. More nursing centers require four-year degrees for RNs beyond the minimum associate’s degree. But higher education programs are turning away qualified candidates for lack of space. It’s a nursing shortage with no simple solutions. And just over the skyline, the healthcare industry can see a trend of as many as 32 million recently insured Americans who will get into the system on Jan. 1, 2014, as part of the national Affordable Care Act.

nursing_educationNow, universities and nursing centers are working together to fix the problem for themselves. Health care is changing in many ways. In the future, nursing centers will be the last resort for the most seriously ill people. Nurses will cure a variety of diseases, help manage such serious problems as diabetes and even recommend medicines for many conditions. Greensboro’s Cone Health utilizes about 3,000 nursing staff across five nursing centers. And based on revenues or new jobs, it can hire hundreds of nursing staff every year. Some 65% of the nursing staff now at Cone has four-year higher education degrees, bachelors of science in nursing. Cone wishes to boost that to at least 80% by 2020, under suggestions from the national Institute of Medicine.

Cone has mentioned a decrease of death rates after surgery for sufferers handled by nursing staff with bachelor’s degrees and even individual fulfillment ratings are higher, said the center’s top health professional, Theresa Brodrick, RN, Ph.D., executive vice president and primary nursing official for Cone Health. But getting that nursing education is not simple. Students have two routes to become certified nurses: They can start out in a four-year program without a nursing certificate or they can get into an associate’s level system at a community college. Both are extremely competitive. In some cases only 50% of candidates are accepted. Another program that allows a nurse to earn a bachelor’s degree may provide more nursing staff with bachelor’s degrees.

The Standard of Nursing Education

Major critiques of nursing education and nurses have come from a variety of sources, from nursing education inspections, the patients, relatives and nursing students themselves. Such far reaching critique cannot be ignored as a few unfortunate experiences in a busy pressured service, nor down to a few ‘bad apples’ that have let the service down in the way they have treated vulnerable sufferers.

That the nurses these days are accused of lacking in sympathy or failing to provide sensible care should be a matter of severe concern to all of us in the career. Whether or not these criticisms are validated, the community perception of nursing is being shaped by these reports. The critique of nursing is often targeted at health professional information as if to educate nurses, was somehow to reduce their ability, or desire, to provide sympathetic and sensible care. At this time, when the career is moving to all graduate entry by 2013 we need to assure sufferers, our community and the political figures that nursing education is not only compatible with caring, sympathetic and secure training, but is it’s very foundation. Our sufferers surely deserve well educated, informed and qualified nurses who can incorporate complex information and make secure and effective treatments. To suggest otherwise would be to fail to recognize the complexness of judgment that is necessary for secure care in today’s medical care atmosphere.


It is not too many years ago that third year student nurses would be left in charge of wards at night. Nowadays, with the complexness of surgical involvement and acuity of sufferers, this would be amazing, placing sufferers at risk and, indeed, could be considered negligent. Medical care is an ever changing world and nurses need information that prepares them for the changes and challenges ahead. Yet, preparing nurses to become caring, qualified practitioners requires much more than the acquisition of abilities and information obtained through the formal years of training and learning.