Grand Canyon University- NRS 430V
August 18, 2012
Competencies Differences, ADN VS. BSN
The purpose of this paper is to explore the differences in competencies between nurses
prepared at the associate-degree level versus nurses prepared at the baccalaureate-degree level.
This will be accomplished by sharing an impressive personal experience that created my desire
for higher learning, the concepts from the module readings and by exploring published articles
that report results from research conducted on the competency differences.
Numerous studies have been conducted on various facets of nursing competencies
comparing an associate-level prepared nurse to a baccalaureate level prepared nurse and the
educational curriculum. These numerous studies have included particular clinical skills being
demonstrated (Oerman, et al. 1998), professional values held by baccalaureate and associate
degree students (Martin, et al., 2003), and risk taking propensity studies (Masters et al. 1989)
However, contradictory results are suggested mostly due to the type of research done.
In order to properly examine the differences in competencies, you must define nursing
competence. The Arizona State Board of Nursing Competency Model, defines competency, as
“the foundation for clinical performance and the validation of nursing practice essential for
patient safety and quality care”. (2003).
This paper examines McIntosh and colleagues (2008), Bradshaw and colleagues (2008),
Friese and collegues (2008) research that linked higher education to positive quality patient
Over the past six months, the long term care facility were I work is experiencing culture change initiatives. One of the many initiatives, include utilizing critical thinking skills to analyze data for root cause and, then to process improve for better performance. The organization hired a Baccalaureate prepared clinical leader. During the evaluation of our data, he recognized our efforts in fall reduction, which were preventative measures without root cause analysis and did not include process improvement initiatives. In particular, our fall rating was double the national average. Our facility, historically, had a fall prevention interdisciplinary team meeting, however it was not effective and included only remedies after the fall had already occurred. The baccalaureate prepared nurse, educated the team on proper root cause analysis and initiated a new fall reduction program. The new fall initiative, included screening for fall risk, preventative measures after scoring as a high risk, root cause analysis of each fall and care plan techniques, but, most importantly, he initiated a program that includes communication by the Geriatric nursing assistant. Our fall rate has dropped drastically and our residents are safer and the quality of care has improved. The baccalaureate prepared leader, has enabled process improvement by utilizing his critical thinking and leadership skills. This is, certainly, consistent with Grand Canyon University College of Nursing Philosophy. The American Nurses Association defines nursing as “the protection, promotion, and optimization of health and 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 populations.” As the definition implies, it requires integration of nursing knowledge, research and diversity to achieve the description of a nurse. Qualified competent nurses need to be educated in management, leadership and nursing research. The baccalaureate in nursing program incorporates the necessary skills into the curriculum. The associate-level nurse has been trained in clinical and technical skills, but requires a higher level education to assure quality care is...