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Difference in Competencies Associates Versus Baccalaureate Nurses

Running head: DIFFERENCES IN COMPETENCIES OF NURSES PREPARED AT THE ASSOCIATE-DEGREE LEVEL VERSUS THE BACCLAURATE-DEGREE LEVEL IN NURSING Differences in Competencies of Nurses Prepared at the Associate-Degree Level versus the Baccalaureate-Degree Level in Nursing Michelle L. Gutman Grand Canyon University NRS-430V Professional Dynamics August 5, 2011 Difference in Competencies Associates versus Baccalaureate Nurses The definition of a registered nurse according to Webster’s dictionary is “a graduate trained nurse who has been licensed by a state authority after qualifying for registration (Merriam-Webster).

Typically there are three routes of education you may take to qualify for taking the state board examination or NCLEX-RN exam. The first is diploma program typically offered and administered through hospitals. The second is an associate degree which is obtained usually through a community college or technical school. The third is a baccalaureate degree which is usually obtained through a college or university. According to the American Association of Colleges of Nurses (AACN) all registered nurse should obtain a minimum of a baccalaureate degree.

However the National Organization for Associate Degree Nursing (N- OADN) advocates that the is definitely a place in healthcare for the associate degreed nurse. The Associate and the Baccalaureate Nurse will be discussed. Associate Degree Nurses The associate degree nurse or ADN was originated from a nursing shortage stemming from WWII. Since then associate nurses have had an impact on the nursing population. Approximately 60% of all nurses entering into the nursing profession are associate degree. Online Journal of Issues in Nursing) Typically the associate degree nurse will obtain their degree in 2 years at a college or technical school taking core Nursing courses as well as English, Mathematics and Humanity courses. Clinical rotations are held throughout a variety of medical settings done as well. This education level is often more affordable and accessible to a diverse population. This education is continually evolving to reflect local community needs as well as current health trends. Graduates are prepared to function in multiple healthcare settings. (N- OADN, 1998) The Kentucky Board of Nursing (KBN) states: The associate degree registered nurse is prepared to function as a caregiver in a variety of settings, and to work with other professional nurses and members of the healthcare team in planning and implementing comprehensive health care. ” The KBN further state that graduates from ADN programs are eligible to apply their academic credits to a baccalaureate completion program. (KBN. gov) Baccalaureate Degree Nurses Baccalaureate registered nurses are prepared to assume roles of leadership as well as provide roles in daily patient care and education as well as community services in healthcare settings.

The baccalaureate prepared nurse takes courses in English, Mathematics, science and humanities as well as core nursing courses. They must also take courses in community health and management and leadership as well as nursing research. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) reports that skills are necessary for the professional nurse who often makes quick and sometimes life and death decisions. They must master today’s technology and assist patients through community healthcare resources as well as educates patients and health lifestyles. AACN) The Kentucky Board of Nursing states: “Graduates of BSN programs are prepared to provide care to individuals, families and communities in wellness and illness settings providing comprehensive health services. They are prepared to assume positions of leadership and responsibility in a variety of practice settings, and to enter graduate school (master’s degree) for specialized study in a variety of nursing specialties. Clinical Setting Recently there was a patient situation that exemplifies the differences between an ADN and BSN prepared nurses.

A forty-three year old male was directly admitted from a physician’s office. His diagnosis was stage 4 small cell lung cancer. Upon admission in was obvious that he was in the final stages of his terminal disease. . As one would expect the patient had pain control issues requiring frequent administration of pain medication. His immediate family consisted of two teenaged sons of whom he had custody, his mother who had moved from out of state to care for him and his father. The patient and his family were not ready to accept the end of life and wanted all measures to be done.

The patient and his family spent the last two weeks of his life with us. The interesting observations of the differently educated RN’s were subtle but were there none the less. While the patient received excellent care by those who took care of him; the BSN prepared nurse holistically took care of the patient and his family. Subtlety educating the patient and family on end of life, encouraging then consulting hospital chaplain’s as well as social workers. Also they presented the patient and his family printed educational reading materials as they were beginning to understand and accept the unavoidable outcome.

All the while continuing to carry out the patient’s wishes and physicians orders to do everything possible to prolong his life, such as transfuse FFP as well as administer antibiotics. The ASN prepared nurse did an excellent job of carrying out physicians’ orders and supporting the family however they did not critically think about community resources available to the family to engage them in support services such grief counseling and ensuring legal documents were in order while the patient was able to participate. In the end the patient passed away peacefully with his family prepared for his death. Conclusion

While one can debate whether healthcare has a place for ADN’s or should all RN be BSN in this ever changing world of healthcare. The ADN with all their technical and clinical skills can certainly safely participate in healthcare today in an entry level position. Then advance their career by obtaining a baccalaureate degree if they so desire. References http://www. aacn. nche. edu/Publications/positions/baccmin. htm August 3, 2011 http://kbn. ky. gov/education/pon/types. htm August 3, 2011 http://www. nursevillage. com/nv/content/careerresources/student_nursing/created_equal. jsp August 4, 2011

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