Associate Degree versus Baccalaureate Degree
Florence Nightingale is the founder of modern nursing, there was no specific nursing profession before her era. With Nightingale's great contribution and inspiration, the first three nurse training schools in the United States were founded in three hospitals located in New York City, New Haven, and Boston (Creasia & Friberg, 2011, p.4). They provided the graduated nurses the basic knowledge and skills to get jobs. A woman who graduated from these training programs also had better social status because she was considered as a "trained nurse"(Creasia & Friberg, 2011, p.4). Since then, more and more nursing training schools sprung up all over the United States.
Nowadays, people who are interested in nursing can become nurses in mainly three ways, diploma programs in hospitals, associate degree programs offered at community colleges, and baccalaureate degrees from most universities. This essay will discuss the differences in competencies between the associate-degreed and baccalaureate-degreed nurses. Brief Introduction of Entry Level Nursing Education
Associate degree education
In 1952, the associate degree in nursing (ADN) was introduced due to nursing shortage (Creasia & Friberg, 2011, p.26). ADN programs are two years and usually held in community colleges. A student graduates with ADN is eligible to take National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) and becomes a Registered Nurse (RN) (Creasia & Friberg, 2011, p.26). Baccalaureate Degree Nursing Education
In 1950s', baccalaureate programs are typically five years long, with two years of general education followed by three years of nursing education (Creasia & Friberg, 2011, p.25). After a few decades, the amount of baccalaureate programs throughout the country has increased dramatically. According to American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), there were 748 Baccalaureate programs in the United States and its territories in 2008 (2008). Nowadays, most baccalaureate programs are four years. Nurses graduated from these programs are able to take the NCLEX-RN test and become licensed. Most of the nurses are well trained, educated and well rounded to work in different settings (Creasia & Friberg, 2011, p.25). Different competencies of ADN versus BSN nurses
Generally speaking, BSN is superior to ADN in a few aspects. BSN programs comprise all the education in the two-year ADN programs. In addition, according AACN, BSN programs include more educations in theory, nursing management and research, physical and social sciences, public and community health, and humanities. These further studies will better prepare the nurses with broad knowledge of economics, social culture, politics and more (AACN, 2014). A solid grasp on these courses will improve communication between nursing staff and patients, which will further enhance patients' trust in the health care team, resulting in more satisfactory patient care. The Grand Canyon University College of Nursing Philosophy declares that "Baccalaureate nursing practice incorporates the roles of assessing, critical thinking, communicating, providing care, teaching, and leading" (2011). Nurses with BSN have very thorough understanding of science theories. They are more prepared in critical thinking and leadership.
In comparison, ADN programs are more focused on training nurses in technical skills and bedside nursing manners (Creasia & Friberg, 2011, p.36). Nurses graduated with an associate degree will have the entry level knowledge and skills to provide safe and effective patient care. Nurses with ADN are competent to make accurate assessments and carry out correct procedures. However, during the two years training in the program, nurses with ADN may not have as much study and experience in research, leadership, nursing management, critical thinking, etc.
Research has shown a positive correlation between the nurses with BSN education and patient care outcomes. Nurse...
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