Are Associate Degree Nurses as Competent as Baccalaureate Degree Nurses? LOU ANN LAKE
GRAND CANYON UNIVERSITY
Nursing History, Theories, and Conceptual Model
June 22, 2013
Are Associate Degree Nurses as Competent as Baccalaureate Degree Nurses? The evolution of nursing education is being called into question. When a nurse passes the NCLEX exam does that mean they are a highly qualified educated registered nurse? The continuing debate regarding the levels of nursing education is vastly documented and researched. Does it really matter if you, as a patient, have a nurse that graduated with an associate degree in nursing, a lower level of education, or are you, better off having a nurse with a baccalaureate degree in nursing. This is the discussion at hand. There are three different entry levels programs for nursing – diploma, associate, and baccalaureate degree, all leading to registered nurse licensure (Creasia & Friberg, 2011, p. 15). This is where the question comes into play among the public and professionals. These three programs served their purpose at one time in history, now however there are questions and research to show that quality nurses need a higher level of education. After World War II the nation’s demand for registered nurses increased. With 78 million children born between 1946 and 1964, coupled with the chronic disease brought on by the war and the growing population of elderly, hospitals were forced to restrict admissions because of the shortage of registered nurses (Lynaugh & Brush, 1996). The seriousness of the nursing shortage encouraged faculty to develop new entry-level nursing programs. In 1951 the 2-year associate degree (AD) program was developed. This new community college program set on fire the launch of AD programs, and several important goals were attained. The AD graduates helped minimize the nursing shortage and a new pool of students, men, married women with children, and older...
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