The education of professional nurses must take place in institutions of higher learning with a bachelor of science in nursing degree required for beginning professional practice. Nurses educated in these academic settings should be socialized as professionals with a philosophical and value system that is compatible with this role. This education should be flexible, diverse, and directed toward providing the nurse with a solid base for general, professional nursing practice. Nursing as a profession is a social institution and must present itself as a strong, unified profession to survive the inevitable changes occurring on the health care front. By tracing the evolution of the entry-into-practice dilemma, a systems archetype and two mental models that currently drive nursing and jeopardize its potential to meet the demands of the emerging health care market are identified. The authors offer a high-leverage solution to the entry-into-practice dilemma that they believe will strengthen the nursing profession.
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