Grand Canyon University
Everyone agrees that both associate & baccalaureate registered nurses are still just registered nurses. However, there are many personal theories about associate degreed nurses vs. baccalaureate degreed nurse depending on the type of degree the person has that you are talking with. Data shows that new nurses pass the NCLEX exam at the same rate; however that does not mean that they are equally prepared to practice (Rosseter, 2014). Numerous studies show that quality patient care centers have higher educated workforce (Rosseter, 2014). Some professional organizations like the American Association of College of Nursing believe that patients have the right to have the highest educated nurses provide their care, and the education of the nurse has a definite impact on the nurse’s ability to practice (Rosseter, 2014). Lower mortality rates have been connected to nurses with a baccalaureate degree (Rosseter, 2014). Furthermore, nurses with a higher education have been linked to less medication errors and higher positive outcomes (Rosseter, 2014). Many studies show that there is a difference in in the decision-making skills of the nurses depending on their degree of education; as a result this paper will look at the differences in the education of the Associate Degree Nurse and the Baccalaureate degree Nurse. We will also look at different decision-making approaches to a patient care situation by an ADN vs. a BSN.
The variances in competencies between the two different nursing degrees, Associate degree and Baccalaureate degreed nurses begin with their education. Because of the nursing shortage in the post war years, Mildred Montag and other faculty were encouraged to cultivate new entry-level nursing programs (Creasia & Fredrick, 2011). In 1951 Mildred Montag proposed a new program to prepare nurse technicians in 2-year associate degree (AD) community colleges (Creasia & Fredrick, 2011). Graduates from this kind of education are still what are known today as the Associate Degree Nurse. An Associate degree nurse is one that has completed 2-3 years of nurse training, usually in a Community College. Upon completion of this education program the student is qualified to sit for the national nursing exam, to become a Registered Nurse. The AD program provided new opportunities to a whole new group of students; such as, men, married women with children and older then the typical undergraduate students (Creasia & Fredrick, 2011). The Associate degree program was designed to help reduce the nursing shortage and its success was measured by the satisfactory level of the nurse’s skills and by passing the NCLEX.
Just like the ADN program, the Baccalaureate program was also founded after the war. In 1946 Congress passed the GI Bill of rights, which enabled veterans to attain vocational or college training (Creasia & Fredrick, 2011). The baccalaureate degreed nurse is one that has attended a university nursing program that usually consist of 2 years general education followed by 2-3 years of nursing education. Upon completion of this education program the graduate may sit for the national exam to become a registered nurse.
According to Janice I. Hooper graduates from Diploma, Associate Degree, and Baccalaureate programs are all eligible to take the same NCLEX examination for entry into practice as a registered nurses, the BSN education includes additional coursework in nursing and a broader range of studies in other disciplines. Differences in ability between graduates from the various programs may not be evident in the early stages of nursing practice, but will become more pronounced as nurses gain experience and confidence in the clinical area. After a time of transition into practice, the effects of the educational preparation begin to surface as BSN graduates draw upon their broad based education (Hooper, 2012, p. 1). Even though the BSN nurses learn the same type of