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Shift in Focus: Nursing Education

CTU charts the evolution of nursing educationWhat a change we have seen in the lifecycle of nursing in the past 30 years of my nursing career! When I started my nursing career, nearly all graduates eventually worked as a staff nurse in a hospital with a few colleagues working in long-term care facilities. New graduates rarely worked in emergency rooms or the intensive care units. A variety of education options were available including practical nursing, diploma, associate degree and bachelor’s degree programs. 

New Initiatives

Since then, we have seen a significant decrease in practical nursing programs and diploma programs are essentially non-existent. In 2008, the House of Delegates of the American Nurses Association (ANA) resolved to support initiatives that require associate degree (AD) or diploma-prepared registered nurses to obtain a BSN within 10 years after initial licensure (BSN in 10). Exempted in the resolution were those individuals that were licensed or enrolled as students in AD or diploma programs when such legislation was enacted.

Magnet Status

With the BSN in 10 initiative, more nurses are seeking a bachelor’s degree either as a degree-completion following an associate degree or as a means for initial entry into the practice of nursing. In addition to this initiative, the Magnet status was also introduced. Magnet status is an award given by the American Nurses' Credentialing Center (ANCC), an affiliate of the American Nurses Association, to hospitals that satisfy a set of criteria designed to measure the strength and quality of their nursing.

Shift in Focus

While Florence Nightingale concentrated her nursing practice on the care of ill patients, we have seen the practice of nursing, along with the business of healthcare, evolve to where we place a greater emphasis on “health” rather than “illness.” With the Affordable Care Act, a greater focus on managing population health is placed on keeping people healthy and managing the health of populations such as those with chronic conditions. We have also seen technology place a greater role in managing the care of patients. Technology has changed patients’ access to healthcare. Patient access to a provider and health information through electronic means has improved accessibility of provider communication and personal health information. 

What will the next 30 years bring? Will everyone have genetic testing for the purposes of identifying risk for certain diseases or treatment of disease processes?  Will we have health insurance exchanges or Medicare? Will there be a cure for diabetes? Stay tuned for the next 30 years – change is guaranteed!

Find out more about CTU’s Nursing Degree Programs.

CTU Dean of Health and Nursing Michele CrissmanMichele Crissman, J.D., MSN, CMA, holds the position of Dean of Health and Nursing at CTU.  She previously served as the University Dean of Allied Health and the Chair of Security Studies on the Sioux Falls campus.

Crissman has worked in the healthcare industry for 24 years as a Registered Nurse, and manager/director at departmental and executive management levels. She also briefly held positions as a Law Clerk and Magistrate Judge. She is a board member and past chair of Active Generations.

Image Credit: Flickr/Dr. Farouk