Differences in Competencies Between Nurses Prepared at the Associate Degree Level Versus Baccalaureate Degree Level in Nursing

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Differences in Competencies Between Nurses Prepared at the Associate Degree Level Versus Baccalaureate Degree Level in Nursing. Grand Canyon University
November 23, 2010

Differences in competencies between nurses prepared at the associate degree level versus baccalaureate degree level in nursing.

Which is better? A baccalaureate degree in nursing or an associate’s degree in nursing? Currently this seems to be the rising question in the nursing profession. I believe this argument will be one to be answered by many for some time to come. Both degrees have graduated wonderful nurses. While one program works well for one nurse, the other program may better suit another nurse’s needs. Neither program will necessarily make you a better nurse but there are differences in the programs that prepare nurses for different paths or situations in their nursing careers. One difference in competencies between the Associate Degree Nurse and the Baccalaureate Degree Nurse is the time spent in the formal education process. The ADN nurse obtains their degree from either a community or junior college, compared to a BSN nurse that attends a 4 year college or university. “There is a distinct difference between the 72 credits and the 125 BSN credits required in each of the nursing programs’ curriculum” (The difference between associate degree nurses and the baccalaureate degree nurses, 2008). Educational competencies are another area where the two nursing degrees differ. Cerritos College website explained that “the Associate Degree Nurse (ADN) graduate is prepared and expected to practice within the framework of the Educational Competencies for Graduates of Associate Degree Nursing Programs as identified by the National Council of Associate Degree Nursing Competencies Task Force in 2000” (Competencies expected of the associate degree nurse). They go on to say “ADN graduates practice within the framework of eight core components and competencies. The core components of nursing practice are: professional behaviors, communication, assessment, clinical decision making, caring interventions, teaching and learning, collaboration, and managing care” (Competencies expected of the associate degree nurse). According to the University of Texas at Arlington “baccalaureate graduates are prepared to synthesize information from various disciplines, think logically, analyze critically, and communicate effectively with clients and other health care professionals” (College of Nursing, 2010). They go on to say that “graduates are expected to demonstrate all the competencies (knowledge, judgment, and skills) of the preceding levels of education, but with greater depth and breadth of application” (College of Nursing, 2010). “Community health nursing, research, and full length courses in leadership and management are content areas required in the baccalaureate curriculum and are generally not addressed in the preceding levels of education” (College of Nursing, 2010). Distinctly there is a difference in roles that an ADN and BSN play in the work place. “The Associate Degree Nurse is an entry level practitioner and is competent to practice as a direct caregiver” (Competencies expected of the associate degree nurse). The ADN role in the health care setting is to be a primary bedside nurse and provide direct patient care. The ADN primarily provides care in places such as hospitals, nursing homes, clinics and physician’s offices (The difference between associate degree nurses and the baccalaureate degree nurses, 2008). ADN’s also have limited skills when it comes to leadership roles (The difference between associate degree nurses and the baccalaureate degree nurses, 2008). According to Grand Canyon University College of Nursing Philosophy “the baccalaureate nurse practice incorporates the roles of assessing, critical thinking, communicating, providing care, teaching and leading” (Grand Canyon University College of Nursing Philosophy, 2008)....
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