Letter to the Editor on Legislative: The Nursing Shortage: A Public Health Issue for All


April 15, 2009

Response by Carolyn to: Legislative: The Nursing Shortage: A Public Health Issue for All (November 14, 2008) by Greer Glazer, RN, CNP, PhD, FAAN and Charles Alexandre, RN, MS

Dear Editor:

I read the Legislative column of November, 2008, 'The Nursing Shortage: A Public Health Issue for All,' with interest. However, I noted there was no mention in this column regarding what nursing organizations are doing to enhance opportunities for nurses to earn their BSN degree.

I would like to share my experiences in trying to obtain my BSN degree. Recently I attempted to take a BSN course with funding supplemented by my employer. My employer declined to continue the funding saying that I had so many years of experience that I already knew the course content.

I have found that University programs offering RN-BSN programs are very expensive. People like myself, who have many years of nursing experience, but limited personal funds to spend on education, do not qualify for the government assistance mentioned in your article. There are a number of us who would like to obtain a BSN degree, and perhaps teach nursing students. However, in today's economy it is very difficult for RNs who are interested in obtaining the BSN degree to divert precious personal funds to further their education or to go into debt because of their college-education loans. Nurses living in single-income households are unlikely to spend their precious dollars earning an academic degree. This is unfortunate.

I encourage the nursing community to review the requirements needed to complete the RN-BSN programs. If these programs were more streamlined and/or if more credit were given for years of nursing experience, perhaps more of us would be able to withstand the economic burden of obtaining the desired baccalaureate degree in nursing.