“Moving to a nurse workforce in which a higher proportion of staff nurses have at least a baccalaureate-level education would result in substantially fewer adverse outcomes for patients” (Friese, Lake, Aiken, Silber & Sochalski, 2008). Of the three most popular ways to become a registered nurse, a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree has been recognized as the best training for nurses in the current complex healthcare system. A baccalaureate prepared nurse possesses additional skills in critical thinking, leadership, case management, health promotion and can function extremely well across all healthcare settings. A BSN is a four year degree covering all clinical areas of nursing as well as professional nursing, areas not covered by the Associate Degree in Nursing and the hospital administered diploma curriculums. Critical thinking skills are an integral part of nursing care as they allow the nurse to analyze and interpret data that directly affects a patient’s care. Nurses are at the front lines of patient care and have a view of all aspects relating to the patient and these skills help the nurse put it all together. The baccalaureate education places a generous amount of focus on critical thinking skills compared to the closely related Associated Degree in Nursing (ADN) that focuses on the technical bedside skills. The level of emphasis placed on critical thinking at the baccalaureate level gives the nurse stronger communication and problem solving skills. Research has shown that 72% of hospital directors identified differences in practice between a BSN and an ADN nurse, citing stronger critical thinking skills (Journal of Nursing Administration, 2001) Leadership in nursing involves the ability to appropriately recognize actions that can be delegated and make assignments that fit each member of the nursing care team. Leadership is an essential part of the BSN curriculum, but it is not included in the ADN curriculum, giving the baccalaureate prepared nurse...
References: American Association of Colleges of Nursing. (2000). The baccalaureate degree in nursing as minimal preparation for professional practice. Retrieved from www.aacn.nche.edu/publications/postion/bacc-degree-prep
American Association of Colleges of Nursing. (2012). The impact of education on nursing practice. Retrieved from www.aacn.nche.edu/media-relations/fact-sheets/impact-of-education
Creasia, J.L., & Friberg, E. (2011). Conceptual foundations: The bridge to professional nursing practice. 5th Ed. St. Louis, Missouri: Elsevier Mosby
Friese, C.R, Lake, E.T., Aiken, L.H., Silber, J.H. & Sochalski, J. (2008, August). Hospital nurse practice environments and outcomes for surgical oncology patients. Health Services Research, 43(4), 1145-1163.
Goode, C.J., Pinkerton,S., McCausland, M.P., Southard, P., Graham, R. & Krsek, C. (2001). Documenting chief nursing officers ' preference for BSN-prepared nurses. The Journal of Nursing Administration, 31(2). 55-59.
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