Nora De Leon De Martin
Grand Canyon University
April 11, 2015
Differences in Competences of Baccalaureate and Associate Degrees of Nursing
There are two commonly known pathways a person can choose to become a registered nurse (RN). One would be to acquire an Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN) while the other would be to achieve a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing (BSN). While both are accepted in most holistic institutions there are still differences in the knowledge base gained from either degree. This in turn has created a distinct level or preparation for each pathway upon entering the nursing profession. In other word, the competencies for a nurse with a BSN will often outnumber the competencies of a nurse with an ADN.
According to the American Nurses Association (ANA), the field of nursing has become more demanding due to new organizational and technological innovations, and they do not feel that an ADN, a degree a majority of RNs have, is sufficient enough to work in this environment (Spetz & Bates, 2013). It is for this reason that the ANA is striving to make the BSN the minimum degree a person must complete before becoming a registered nurse as it would allow new nurses to function properly in their roles (Spetz & Bates, 2013). In effect, registered nurses with a BSN will find it much easier than ADN registered nurses to find a job as most hospitals are aware of the long term benefits by hiring applicants with advanced degrees. These benefits include increase in the productivity of clinical routines, better patient outcomes, and hospital earnings (Spetz & Bates, 2013). Of course, that is not to say ADN nurses will not be able to find a job, but usually they will not be hired as mentors/teachers for student nurses or registered nurses in specialty hospitals. Those positions will commonly be filled by BSN nurses (Spetz & Bates, 2013). Another advantage of a BSN is that the economic refurbishment will superseded that of an ADN only if the BSN was initially chosen to pursue a career in nursing (Spetz & Bates, 2013).
On a different note, the National Council of State Board of Nursing concluded that BSN and ADN nurses performed 98% of similar tasks such as routine nursing assignments and teaching and managing care to patients (Spetz & Bates, 2013). In addition, both types of registered nurses will be seen tending to patients with “predictable health issues, following nursing processes and organizational protocols, meeting the needs of the individual patient and family members, supervising practical nurses and nurse assistants, and using standard teaching practices to inform the patient and family of health management” (University, 2011). This would mean that both degrees, in terms of the BSN and ADN, do for the most part prepare all nursing students for their desired career.
However, it can be seen the nurses with a BSN will do what ADN nurses do plus more. This is because advanced nursing practices demand a broader area of knowledge that can only be acquired though the BSN. As a result, nurses with a more advanced degree will be able to enhance their own practice. These advanced practices will include providing care for clients with complex or unpredictable health concerns, attending to the health needs of groups and communities, leading healthcare activities, and following personal practices based on individualized critical thinking and judgement (University, 2011).
Indeed, the single greatest quality that separates BSN and ADN nurses is ability to make a decision based upon critical thinking. This allows BSN nurses to approach nursing care systematically by gathering data, sorting the data in a logical manner, determining the soundness and usefulness of the data analyzed, and using the data to make judgement calls (University, 2011). It is this process unique to BSN nurses that has improved…