There is an ongoing debate about nurses trained at the Associates Degree level versus the baccalaureate degree level. In this paper, I will discuss some of the important differences between the two levels of education and try to determine if one is really better than the other.
First of all, when considering the difference between the two types of degrees, it is important to recognize that at either level, a nurse must be able to pass the same NCLEX examination in order to become licensed. Therefore, it is safe to say that a nurse from either type of program must have the basic knowledge required to safely take care of patients as an entry level nurse. So, why bother getting a baccalaureate degree if you can do the same job with less time and money put into your education? Let’s explore some of the advantages.
Ask any working nurse if they would have more job opportunities if they had a baccalaureate degree and they will most likely tell you “yes”. Although you can get a job with an associate’s degree, many jobs require that you have baccalaureate degree in order to hold the position. The reason for this is that many positions for nurses require that they be able to be a strong leader in the work environment. Continuing past the associates degree level, a nurse can really learn how to use their knowledge in a leadership role. Many studies have shown that nurses trained at the baccalaureate level are more prepared to care for patients in a way that provides lower risk to the patient. One example of this is the research study outlined in the August 2008 edition of Health Services Research. In this study, nurses that care for oncology patients who were entering the hospital for surgery. The survey focused on several factors, including patient load, the hospital environment, and the educational level of the nurses caring for the patients. The study proved that nurses who were educated at a higher level were...
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