Associate versus baccalaureate degree in nursing

Topics: Nursing, Academic degree, Associate's degree Pages: 5 (939 words) Published: July 24, 2014


Associate versus baccalaureate degree in nursing
Dawne McCammon
Grand Canyon University
Professional Dynamics
NRS - 430V
Melissa Adams
January 26, 2014
Associate versus baccalaureate degree in nursing
According to the JAMA Network, registered nurses in the United States are able to receive their basic education in a ADN and BSN program in colleges and universities... Although there are a variety of educational programs preparing RNs, some studies have suggested that baccalaureate-prepared nurses are more likely to demonstrate professional behaviors important to patient safety such as problem solving, performance of complex functions, and effective communication. ("Educational Levels," n.d) A large number of situations have been reported in the research studies reviewed. No major differences are noted between the cognitive abilities of students in baccalaureate and associate degree programs. (Davis-Martin, 1990, p. 2) Associate degree nurses are able to perform well in technical roles for which they have been prepared, as well as in some leadership roles for which they were not originally prepared. I am a prime example of that associate degree nurse who has been performing in leadership roles over the years this is due to on the job training and attending management courses. Baccalaureate nursing practice incorporates the roles of assessing, critical thinking, communicating, providing care, teaching, and leading. (, 2) As a result of the many changes in health care along with the changing needs of patients, it is necessary for nurses to advance to higher levels of education. Having many years of experience seems to not carry as much value as does the level of education in the nursing world. When I graduated almost 34 years ago from nursing school, the positions held by ADN nurses were more of a charge nurse role. Most of the management positions were held by BSN nurses. As health care systems throughout the world are changing, studies have shown that “quality patient care hinges on having a well educated nursing workforce; lower mortality rates, fewer medication errors, and positive outcomes are all linked to nurses prepared at the baccalaureate and graduate degree levels”. (Rosseter, Para 1). Medical facilities that are applying for their Magnet status are encouraging their ADN nurses to obtain a BSN degree, and are no longer hiring ADN nurses. Prime example my hospital just this month completed our Magnet journey and received qualification status. Due to the increase in online RN to BSN programs, many nurses fifty years and older are returning to school. I happen to be one of them. There area few situations involving the difference in competency between BSN nurse versus an ADN nurse that I have witnessed. One situation a patient was scheduled for a colonoscopy and was told to arrive at 8:00 am for a 9:00 am procedure. The patient was also given an order from the physician’s office to have labs drawn after her procedure so that upon her next office visit the following week the results will be available. The patient realized at 8:45 am she was not called to the pre- op area. An ADN nurse was in the process of escorting another patient to the discharge area and was confronted by the patient and family who at this point were very angry. The nurse stated “I have no control of the physician he is always late and besides we are very busy and short staffed today” The BSN nurse who was in charge that day, apologized for the delay of the physician who had an emergency in the outpatient GI clinic and for staff not keeping her and family member informed of the delay. She also went on to ask if the physicians office had requested anything for her to have while on her visit today, since she lived five hours away and had an office appointment next week. The patient replied “I have some lab work that he wants me to have before coming to see him next week”. The charge nurse (BSN) called the lab made arrangements...

References: (Ed.). (). The AACN Essentials of Baccalaureate Education for Professional Nursing Practice (Ed.). : . []. http://dx.doi.org/. Retrieved from
Davis-Martin, S. (1990, Jan 1990). Pub Med NLN Pub [Abstract]. NLN Publ, 15-2339: 109-45. http://dx.doi.org/ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2406700
Rosseter, R. J. (n.d). Creating a More Highly Qualified Nursing Workforce [Fact Sheet]. Retrieved from American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN)
Educational levels of Hospital Nurses. (n.d). JAMA Network. http://dx.doi.org/jama.jamanetwork.com
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