Differences In Competencies Between Nurses Prepared At The Associate-Degree Level

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Differences in competencies between nurses prepared at the associate-degree level versus the baccalaureate-degree level

Raquel Miller

Grand Canyon University: NRS-430V Professional Dynamics

January 11, 2015

Differences in competencies between nurses prepared at the associate-degree level versus the baccalaureate-degree level

There are three routes a person can take to obtain an initial degree in nursing; diploma, associate degree, and baccalaureate degree. Diploma program nurses basically receive their education through a hospital based program and it can take up to three years. This route is not seen as much anymore. The associate degree is a two year program that teaches and trains the nurse at a technical level. With this type of degree, it does not prepare the nurse for nursing research, has limited interaction with community, and does not extend the leadership role. The baccalaureate degree is a four year program that offers more education in developing the skills like critical thinking, communication skills, decision making, problem solving, analyzing data, leadership, and community health. All three of these options to obtain a nursing degree will allow a nurse to take the National Council Licensure Examination NCLEX. The NCLEX only will test for minimum competency as a nurse. This clearly shows that after a nurse has graduated from nursing school, he/she should proceed with their continued education since there is much to learn in the healthcare field. “The NCLEX-RN is only one indicator of competency, and it does not measure performance over time or test for all of the knowledge and skills developed through a BSN program” (Rosseter, 2014).

Florence Nightingale was considered to be the founder of modern nursing. She had helped soldiers who were wounded in the Crimean War. Florence Nightingale was also known for implementing sanitation standards. In this, she was able to show that having a clean environment along with a trained nurse, patient’s recovery could be enhanced. Because of her efforts, eventually three nurse training schools were established. Years later the Nurse Associated Alumnae required that trained nurses become registered. This was to protect the public from nurses that did not have proper nurse training. “Their mission was to strengthen the union of nursing organizations, to elevate nursing education, and to promote ethical standards for the profession”, (Creasia, J., & Friberg, E. 2011). This was monumental in nursing because it provided a way to differentiate between nurses with formal training and nurses without formal training. After World War two there was a massive shortage in nurses, so the two year associate degree nurse was created thanks to Mildred Montag. It was never her intention for the two year nursing degree to take over the four year baccalaureate degree. Her goal was to shorten the length of education from three or four years to two years by placing the program in community colleges. The associate degree nurse was meant to work in the healthcare field at the technical level and be under the professional nurse which was considered the baccalaureate nurse, (Creasia, J., & Friberg, E. 2011).

There has been a multitude of studies that describes the difference in competency level between the two year associate degree nurse and the four year baccalaureate degree nurse. The American Associates of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) has many facts that I had found interesting that shows the importance of education in nursing and developing a well accomplished nursing workforce. Some facts that were noted was that approximately 50% of registered nurses held a baccalaureate degree, 36.1% held an associate degree, and 13.9% held a diploma program degree. More interesting, the fact sheet had also mentioned that there was lower mortality rates with patients that were taken