Nursing Scholarship: Degree prepared nurses versus diploma prepared nurses

Tuesday, 19 November 2013: 8:50 AM

Lizeth Roets, PhD, MSocSc (Hons), BSocSc
Department of health studies, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa
Yvonne Botma, PhD
School of Nursing, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa

Learning Objective 1: The learner will be able to identify the current scolarly activities of nurses.

Learning Objective 2: The learner will be able to understand the need for degree prepared nursing to ensure scholarship development in nursing.

The call for more nurses is not enough to address the global shortage.  Research has shown that the nursing profession not merely needs more nurses, but nurses with a higher level of education that can provide better care that result in better patient outcomes. To improve quality patient care the nursing discipline itself needs to be advanced and therefore nursing scholarship can no longer be limited to nurse academics, but is the responsibility of every nurse.

Although the world is looking towards combating the decline in nursing numbers with better educated nurses, South Africa is planning to address the problem with more nurses. 

The purpose of this study was to, by means of a cross-sectional design; compare acts of scholarship between nurses who completed a four year integrated diploma at nursing colleges with nurses who completed a four year nursing degree at universities and universities of technologies.

The population were all professional nurses registered with the South African Nursing Council who obtained, either a four year degree or four year diploma in nursing. 

Data were gathered using a self administrative questionnaire. The data indicated that most nurse educators were degree prepared; most nurses in managerial positions were degree prepared and more degree prepared nurses were actively involved in research.

Although the difference in scholarly activities was small, it was evident that nurses who obtained a degree as first qualification are the ones who are still involved with scholarly activities. The global nursing crisis, nor the nursing profession, will benefit by only training more nurses. The profession and the health care sector need more degree prepared nurses to improve scholarship in nursing.