March 08, 2013
"RN" Associate Degree vs. Baccalaureate-Degree Preparation The American Nurses Association defines nursing as the protection, promotion, and optimization of health and abilities, prevention of illness and injury, alleviation of suffering through the diagnosis and treatment of human response, and advocacy in the care of individuals, families, communities, and populations. ("ANA," 2013)
Health care is rapidly growing every day. As it evolves, we gain new insight knowledge of the medical field. As the field grows it becomes more demanding, nurses are required to have the appropriate education to perform their jobs with competence. Obtaining a nursing license is accomplished thru different education levels. A person seeking this career can choose to obtain an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN), or Bachelor Degree in Nursing (BSN). Both degrees accomplish the same goal of becoming a nurse; however there are differences in their preparation methods. ("AACN," 2013)
The first difference is seen in the number of years needed to obtain each degree. An Associate degree in nursing (ADN) involves education at a community college level or technical approved school. It requires 2 years of college education. Its main purpose is providing the skills needed to perform patient care and basic nursing functions. The Bachelor degree in nursing (BSN) involves more years of schooling at the university level. It requires 4 year college attendance. Both degrees give the student the knowledge to take NCLEX exam and obtain a nursing license.
Nurses who obtain either the Associate degree of nursing ADN or the Bachelor degree both work within the same scope of practice. The difference is found in the skills they deliver towards quality patient care. “ Baccalaureate nursing practice incorporates the roles of assessing, critical thinking, communicating, providing care, teaching, and leading” ("GCU Nursing Philosophy," 2011). BSN nurses look at the patient as a whole rather than just caring for the disease. The ADN nurse is limited to this type of patient care since they lack the theory based nursing that is thought at a BSN level.
In practice, nursing theories assist in organizing assessment data, making diagnosis, choosing interventions and evaluating nursing care. (Creasia & Friberg, 2011) Let’s take the following patient scenario as an example of the differences in practice between an ADN nurse and a BSN nurse. Post Partum patient is readmitted, 4 days following the vaginal delivery of a healthy newborn. Admitting diagnosis is endometriosis. Report is received by ADN nurse from emergency room nurse. ADN nurse performs patient assessment and begins to follow inpatient orders. Charge BSN nurse reviews admission and notices the patient admission temperature was 99.8, labs reveal WBC 7.2 along with other assessments. She visits the patient, introduces her to the unit and notices patient is crying. The patient reveals to her that she feels bad for “being a bad mother” and not being able to breastfeed her baby. The BSN nurse questions patient about breastfeeding worries. She finds that the patient has not been breastfeeding do to difficulty with latching, her breasts are engorged. BSN nurse further researches the admitting diagnosis and finds that Endometriosis is very rarely diagnosed thru a visual assessment. True diagnosis of endometriosis must be