Educational Preparation: Associate- degree nurses versus baccalaureate- degree nurses
Registered nurses make up one of the biggest professions in healthcare. There is a wide variety of skill levels amongst RNs, including differences in education. However, one thing they have in common is having passed the National Council Licensure Examination. Associate and baccalaureate degree programs each prepare its students for becoming nurses. Although, research has shown there is a variance in competencies between the two degrees, and that hospitals employed with bachelor’s degree nurses have better patient outcomes (Aiken, Clarke, Cheung, Sloane & Silber, 2003).
Associate degree nursing education was developed more than sixty years ago at the
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The N-OADN stated, “ADN graduates are prepared to function in multiple health care settings. Nurses prepared at the ADN level are caring, competent, and committed health care providers who fill a vital need in local communities” (Mahaffey, 2002). Associate degree nurses comprise the base of the profession and will continue to do so as time goes on (Fetzer, 2003). Baccalaureate education in nursing has been highly valued by multiple organizations and groups, including the United States military. BSN programs generally take four years to complete, and provide nurses with highly developed critical thinking and leadership skills. Patient outcomes are ultimately impacted due to baccalaureate education because of enhanced knowledge. In a survey of chief nursing officers in 2001, it was noted that in addition to better critical thinking skills, bachelor degree nurses possessed more professional behaviors, holistic approaches, and leadership skills (Lane & Kohlenberg, 2010). Data has shown that baccalaureate degree nurses are more knowledgeable of the nursing process than associate degree nurses who are more involved with content- driven tasks (Giger & Davidhizar, 1990). The extra time spent in school to obtain a BSN allows the nurse to enter the workforce with a higher satisfaction level, and provides reason for hospitals to support continued education (Lane & Kohlenberg, 2010). Nursing care