Nursing Education and Competency
The purpose of this paper is to explore the different paths of education to become a registered nurse. Specially, to examine the educational tracks of the Associate Degree nurse and the Baccalaureate Degree nurse. The question at hand is how do these educational paths differ in the level of competency? First, I will show the difference in educational structure and then examine how these relate to the competency of the nurse following completion of each program. The Associate Degree in nursing came about during the 1950s in an effort to combat a nursing shortage in the Unites States following World War II. An Associate Degree nursing program is a two-year program that is typically affordable and offered at a junior or community college. The focus of this program is “on the basic sciences and theoretical and clinical courses related to the practice of nursing” (Potter & Perry, 2005, p. 16). It prepares the student for “competent technical bedside” nursing in “secondary care settings” (Cresia & Friberg, 2011, p. 33). Following completion of the two-year program, the student is eligible to take the NCLEX-RN (National Council Licensure Examination) and can achieve a license as a registered nurse. The first Baccalaureate Degree in nursing was “established in the United States at the University of Minnesota in 1909” (Cresia & Friberg, 2011, p. 25). It consists of a four-year program on a university or college campus with a larger financial attachment. There are typically two years of general education requirements followed by two years of upper-level nursing education courses. In addition to the basic science, theory and clinical education the program “include courses in community and public health, beginning research, management and leadership (Cherry & Jacob, 2005, p. 81). It prepares the student to become a “professional nurse generalists for acute care settings, community-based practice, and...
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