The debate concerning nurses' diverse entry into practice was enlivened in
1995, when the American Nurses Association reaffirmed its contention that a
baccalaureate degree was necessary for professional nursing practice. This
debate may be informed by an appreciation of the educational routes taken
by other countries that have changed from hospital-based to college-based n
ursing education. This paper describes and analyzes preregistration nursing
education in Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United St
ates, from the late nineteenth century to the present. Nurses in Australia
and New Zealand are currently educated entirely at the baccalaureate level.
In the United Kingdom, nursing education is in the process of becoming com
pletely university-based, resulting in a diploma or degree. In the United S
tates, the majority of nurses graduate from two-year associate degree progr
ams. This level of education, briefer than in the other countries described
, potentially limits nurses' professional contributions.