Nursing Competency Differences

Topics: Nursing, Academic degree, Bachelor of Science in Nursing Pages: 5 (900 words) Published: April 20, 2014

Competency Differences Between ADN and BSN Prepared Nurses

April 11, 2014
Competency Differences Between ADN and BSN Prepared Nurses
The difference in competencies between nurses prepared at an associate degree level versus a nurse prepared at the baccalaureate degree level has been a debated controversy since the 1960’s and steadily growing in the United States over the past decade. While both levels of degrees will permit a nursing student to take the NCLEX exam, there are differences in how these nurses were prepared to enter in to the field of nursing. Education seems to be more pronounced amongst nurses carrying a baccalaureate degree. Nurses that acquire an associate degree do not have the extent of education in their 2 year course of study as opposed to the nurse holding a BSN with a 4 year course of study. The associate level degree nurse is trained as a more technical nurse as where the “baccalaureate prepared nurse is trained to incorporate roles of assessing, critical thinking, communication, providing care, teaching and leading” ("GCU college of Nursing Philosophy," 2011, p. 2). However, they both sit for the same licensing examination test, the NCLEX. “The NCLX test for minimum technical competency for safe entry into basic nursing practice. This exam does not test for differences between graduates of different programs, measure performance over time, or test for all of the knowledge and skills developed through a baccalaureate program” ("Snapshot of Today’s Nursing Workforce," 2013, p. 1). Within the last decade, policymakers and practice leaders have recognized education as making a difference. Nurses entering into the field with an associate level degree seem to be more task oriented, however, they lack the theory and science behind nursing as a profession. An ADN will focus on their clinical skills acquired through their course of study, while a nurse with a BSN will focus on critical thinking and theory of science for proper case management of a patient. An example of this being, if a patient comes into the Emergency Room with complaint of chest pains, a nurse representing an associate level degree will take into consideration the history of the patient and fully Triage this patient, however, they will be inept to quickly assess the situation through their clinical skills and will insure that this patient is informed and is at ease with their comfort of care. A nurse representing a BSN in the same situation will thoroughly assess the situation, apply their education of theory and critical thinking while communicating the need for health promotion and teaching the need for disease prevention, all while trying to get the patient ready for the Cath Lab because evidence based practice has shown that early reperfusion therapy will provide a better clinical outcome for the patient. While both degrees provide the proper education to support accurate assessment, the BSN nurse through educational background will offer the patient a better clinical outcome and decrease the risk of mortality for this patient. “The AACN encourages employers to build their practice environments embracing lifelong learning and they encourage these employers to offer incentives for registered nurses who want to further their education to baccalaureate and higher degree levels” ("The Impact of Education on Nursing Practice," 2014, p. 1). “The Helene Fuld Health Trust is the nation’s largest private foundation devoted exclusively to student nurses and nursing education. The Helene Fuld Health Trust provides funding preference to programs that offer BSN and higher degrees in nursing” ("The Impact of Education on Nursing Practice," 2014, p. 5). There often are monetary incentives offered at practice environments that make it quite appealing to associate level degree nurses to pursue and further their education to baccalaureate level. “In March 2005, the American Organization of Nurse Executives (AONE)...

References: Creasia, J. L., & Friberg, E. (2011). Socialization to Professional Nursing . In Conceptual Foundations: The Bridge to Professional Nursing Practice (5th ed., p. 58). [Pageburst]. Retrieved from
Fact Sheet: Creating a More Highly Qualified Nursing Workforce. (2013). Retrieved from
Grand Canyon University College of Nursing Philosophy. (2011). Retrieved from
The Impact of Education on Nursing Practice. (2014). Retrieved from
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