In addition to straining logic by describing a plan to extend the time needed to qualify as a RN from 2 years to 3 as “fast-track to careers”, the article, “Nursing Students Find Fast-track to Careers,” (Jan. 10, 2012) is misleading and inaccurate.
It is also harmful to three objectives in the interest of Ashe County and North Carolina. First, we need to increase the supply of nurses; second, we need to communicate clearly to high school students and to out-of-school adults the precise pathways toward becoming a nurse; and third, we need to streamline the ways in which a person working as a nurse can move up the education ladder to a more advanced professional status.
The article claims that “students now can have the opportunity to begin working as a registered nurse at the end of their third year, unlike a traditional bachelor of science in nursing … program.” In fact a person considering a career should know that they can begin work today as an RN after 2 years of education and passing the RN exam.
The article quotes the Foundation for Nursing Excellence as stating that we need to “expand the pool for future faculty and advanced practice nurses.” The message conveyed by this article is incomplete and in direct conflict with this stated objective. In fact, the article does not outline the full array of options available for entering and advancing in the nursing profession. Of particular significance in Ashe County, it does not identify the option of beginning work as a RN after completion of the 2-year degree at the Ashe Campus of Wilkes Community College and passing the RN licensure exam. Further the option of enrolling in the Appalachian State University RN to BSN program is not identified.
Ironically, the program could result in an actual decrease in the supply of nurses by increasing by one year the time to qualify as a RN and concurrently increasing the cost to a student by 50% or more.
Educators at all levels from K-12 to postsecondary education have a professional responsibility to identify all options for a career accurately. This article falls short of that standard.