Alphabet soup. Y’know, all the wonderful letters after ones name that proves to anyone who can read that you’ve persevered though multiple rounds of education that are supposed to make you a better nurse. Does all that make you a leader though? Mother Jones asks a similar question in Are you smarter than a nursing leader?.
I’m with her. I’m not sold on the idea that more advanced education makes one a better nurse or leader. Sure you may have more classroom time learning all of the concepts and theories, but from what I’ve learned in life (not just nursing), theories and concepts tend to go out the window when the shit hits the fan. There is a developing caste structure in nursing based on degrees, that somehow nurses with “better” degrees are better nurses. BSN vs. ADN, MSN vs. BSN, where does it end? In all reality, one doesn’t need a MSN to be a bedside nurse and all this caste structure does is to further reinforce the idea of otherness and exploit the differences between nurses, rather than the commonalities and allow institutions to let education trump experience.
Advanced education has it’s place and in all likelihood I’ll be headed back to the classroom soon, but not because of a need to prove myself, but to improve my ability to move behind the bedside. But an advanced degree does not make one a leader. Sure you learn all the wonderful catch phrases, managerial double-speak and organizational ideals, but when it comes to it, leadership is inborn talent. Some have it, others don’t and no amount of education will fix that.