Academic journal article Nursing and Health Care Perspectives

The Advancement of Baccalaureate and Graduate Nursing Education: 1952-1972

Academic journal article Nursing and Health Care Perspectives

The Advancement of Baccalaureate and Graduate Nursing Education: 1952-1972

Article excerpt

IN 1952, when the National League for Nursing was established in its present form, baccalaureate nursing education had evolved into a potpourri of patterns with uneven as well as unsound programs (1). In the consecutive pattern, which consisted of two years of general education followed by two more years of professional education, programs were conducted on separate academic and medical campuses. The correlated pattern offered general and professional studies integrated throughout the curriculum, with classrooms and clinical laboratories located together.

At the time, one of the more common and long-standing types of nursing preparation took place in the academic setting, in which two years of college courses preceded or followed the three-year diploma nursing program in a hospital school. This affiliate-type pattern was perceived by Margaret Bridgman, a prominent educator, as "a means of perpetuating the apprenticeship system.... It violated all the policies that are generally accepted by degree granting institutions as essential to maintain college standards and ensure the integrity of the baccalaureate degree" (2, p. 113).

In April 1954, addressing the Council of Member Agencies of NLN's Department of Baccalaureate and Higher Degree Programs (DBHDP), Mary S. Tschudin, steering committee chair, noted that those institutions setting up ill-conceived programs were more often concerned with the label "collegiate" than true academic quality. She emphasized that "there is a danger enhanced by resistance that is bred when leadership is too far from the vanguard of traditional practices" (3, pp. 4-5).

In addition to encouraging higher standards of university preparation for beginning students in entry-level programs, the council recognized the need to offer adequate and appropriate preparation for graduates of diploma programs. Some years earlier, at a meeting of the Board of Directors of the National League of Nursing Education, R. Louise McManus suggested that collegiate and university schools of nursing should consider supplementary courses for hospital school graduates in both clinical work and general education (4).

In 1951, the Postgraduate Board of Review of the National Nursing Accrediting Service examined programs designed for graduate nurses. A summary report concluded that a great deal of confusion existed concerning the meaning of a baccalaureate degree, higher degree, supplementary collegiate nursing education, and advanced nursing education (5).

Specialized baccalaureate programs for graduate nurses had become popular, offering preparation for public health nursing, teaching, administration in nursing education and service, and supervision. In 1964, RNs were still enrolled in 16 NLN-accredited baccalaureate programs with a focus on specialization (6). Initial accreditation programs of this type had been terminated in 1959, and many of the 16 no longer admitted new students (6).

As nursing leaders gained a clearer understanding of college or university preparation, the supplemental and general nursing program developed (7). The NLN's Self Evaluation Guide for Collegiate Schools of Nursing of 1954 stated that the criteria against which programs would be evaluated for accreditation should include the same basic principles on curriculum preparation in baccalaureate programs for graduate nurses and for students without previous nursing education (6).

The practice of admitting RN students directly to the basic undergraduate program began during the latter part of the 1950s. Nursing content and clinical nursing experience were adapted according to each student's needs and background. By 1964, a total of 26 programs had received NLN approval to admit graduate nurses (6). With this development under way, members of the Council of Baccalaureate and Higher Degree Programs (CBHDP) started to question the procedures used to evaluate the educational background of RNs seeking admission to baccalaureate nursing programs, such as according blanket credit (6). …

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