This lady and I have a lot in common. We both answer a lot of correspondence. For instance, I just received an email from a reader who was really upset. I changed her name for the post to protect her identity. This is what she wrote:

Dear Mother:
My name is Sandy, I’ve been an RN for.. I don’t know, 15 years or so. I have an AD, and absolutely NO desire to obtain my BSN. (sounds like the opening line of an aa meeting, lol) I’m writing to see if you could help me find info, or send me in the right direction to find it. The hospital I currently work for has decided to implement an all BSN RN staff by 2018. The catch is, they are requiring ALL CURRENT employees, with a diploma or AD, to obtain a BSN to KEEP the jobs we already have. I’m a non benefited employee, so.. they have to pay nothing to help me obtain this degree they mandate. I’m beyond frustrated, and a little more than angry…. ANY advice, info, suggestions would be very appreciated. Thanks so much!!!

I had to give some thought before I could answer her question. I identify with her frustration. Honestly, I’m really sick and tired of the way bedside nurses are being treated by the nursing elite, AKA “Nursing Leaders.” Please insert eye roll. I can’t stand people who mandate higher education while they treat bedside nurses like the redheaded stepchildren of nursing academia, but I digress. Sandy asked a heartfelt questions and I wanted to answer it to the best of my ability. I answered her question later that evening after I bridled my emotions.

I wrote this response:

Hi Sandy. Thanks for writing. I’m really sorry about what’s happening to you and your coworkers. This is why I weep for our profession. It’s run by nursing administrators that don’t have a clue about what it takes to work as a bedside nurse.

As you know, the ANA is pushing for nurses like us go back to school. I’m sure that’s why your hospital has made this demand on its nurses. However, college is expensive and you have to ask yourself if you will be able to earn back the money you put out for tution by the time you retire. I have friends who owe over $100,000 in college loans because they felt pressured to get an advance degree and they won’t ever be able to pay off their debt before they reach retirement age. It also depends on what you want to do during your career. Some jobs require a degree. For example, you need a degree if you want to teach someday, or if you want to become a nurse practitioner.

I think your hospital is being very short sighted. The nursing market is glutted right now, but that won’t last forever. Older nurses are postponing retirement because of the economy, but we Golden Girls can’t work forever, and we won’t be coming back to the profession once we retire. The US Labor Department is predicting the mother of all nursing shortages by 2020, so let your hospital be stupid. I’m sure you will be able to find work somewhere else if they show you the door.

Well, that’s it for my advice. I hope you don’t mind if I share my answer with the rest of my readers.

Best, Mother Jones, RN

I’m sure that not everyone will agree with my advice and that’s all right. The last time I looked, we still live in a democracy, so it’s OK if you have a different opinion. But please, don’t discount the opinions of AD and diploma nurses just because we don’t have an advance degree. We know what’s going on in the trenches because we are bedside nurses. We don’t live in the Nursing Ivory Tower.