Registered nurses were surprised to read in the April 15 issue of PARADE magazine that their profession does not require a college degree. Within days, the tabloid issued an apology for causing “any misunderstanding,” which was posted on its Web site.
If PARADE had done proper research, it would have found that only 17% of the nation’s 2.9 million RNs have “diploma” degrees as their highest level of education (Health Resources and Services Administration, 2004 National Sample Survey of Registered Nurses). Of those graduating between 2000 and 2004, only 2% came from diploma programs. Although they don't confer academic degrees, diploma programs require nursing students to complete three years of intense education and hands-on training.
The vast majority of RNs have at least associate degrees when they begin practice. It is misleading to suggest that it’s possible to become an RN right out of high school and feeds the misconception that registered nurses are low-level healthcare providers.
With more than 34,000 members, NYSNA is the oldest and largest state nurses’ association in the nation. It is an influential union for RNs, representing nurses in New York and New Jersey. Offering a wide range of services to its members, NYSNA fosters high standards of nursing education and practice and works to advance the profession through legislative activity. It is a constituent of the American Nurses Association and of the United American Nurses, an affiliate of the AFL-CIO.