Topics: Associate's degree, Nursing, Academic degree Pages: 6 (1084 words) Published: December 6, 2014

Associates Level Vs Baccalaureate Level Nurses
Harsalee Patel
Grand Canyon University
NRS 430
November 23, 2014

Associates Level Vs Baccalaureate Level Nurses
In the healthcare system nurses play a huge role when it comes to patient care. Many people are unaware of the differences between the different educational levels of nurses. All nurses have one common goal; to promote health and healing while providing excellent patient care. According to the American Nurses Association, “Nursing is the protection, promotion, and optimization of health abilities, prevention of illness and injury, alleviation of suffering through the diagnosis and treatment of human response and advocacy in the care of individuals, families, communities and population.” (ANA, 2014). With this definition in mind, is there really a difference between associate level nurses and baccalaureate level nurses? This paper will discuss the differences in competencies between nurses with formal education with both an associate’s degree and a baccalaureate degree. Along with using a patient care situation this paper will also describe how nursing care and decision making skills differ between associate level nurses and baccalaureate nurses. Associates Degree Level Nursing

In 1956, a nurse educator by the name of Mildred Montage started the formal education and training for people who wished to attain a nursing degree (Creasia, 2011). That nursing degree was known as an associates degree in nursing. The first program was started at Columbia University, New York. During this time there was a critical shortage of nurses, this is why a shorter education path was warranted (Adelphi University, 2014).

An associates degree in nursing is based on a two year educational path, this education is general provided at a junior college or technical college level. The curriculum is made up of two components; didactics and clinical experience. Once both of these components are completed then a student may sit for the national board exam. This exam is known as the NCLEX-RN licensure examination, on successful completion of this exam a person is a licensed nurse in that state (Pennsylvania Institute Of Technology, 2012).

Baccalaureate Degree Level Nursing
Professionals who seek a degree in nursing often times chose the route of a baccalaureate degree in nursing. This degree is based on a four to five year education path, and this education is general provided at a university level (Pennsylvania Institute Of Technology, 2012). Very much like the associates degree, the curriculum is made up of two components; didactics and clinical experience. But the difference is the additional years spent allow for more clinical hours, stronger critical thinking skills, leadership and management education. On completion of a baccalaureate degree in nursing the same NCLEX-RN licensure is required. Differences In Competencies Between Both Degrees

In today’s healthcare industry there is initiative for baccalaureate degree nurses. In the profession of nursing, nurses are on the front line of patient care. Nine times out of ten, nurses are making the critical calls when it comes to specific patient situations. In order to do this a high level of critical thinking is required. According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing “Baccalaureate nursing programs encompass all of the course work taught in associate degree and diploma programs plus a more in-depth treatment of the physical and social sciences, nursing research, public and community health, nursing management, and the humanities” (AACN, 2014). With the additional education provided to a baccalaureate level nurse they are able to provide more rounded care for the patient and their families.

Patient Case Scenario
An example of a patient care scenario which will show a difference in approach in regards care for a patient by an associates degree nurse and a...
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