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Bsn vs. Adn Nurse

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Educational Differences between Registered Nurses The profession of nursing has a long history dating back to the ancient days. Formal education of nursing, using Florence Nightingale’s model, began in the United States after the Civil War. (Scope of Practice and Differentiated Practice Competencies) Nursing education took place in the hospital setting that used nursing students to care for patients. The students mainly learned the skills necessary to care for patients, but were deficient in curriculum learning. Later, some hospital nursing programs began a curriculum based program that issued students diplomas upon completion of the program. (Scope of Practice and Differentiated Practice Competencies) Nursing education began moving into the university settings in 1909 with the University of Minnesota opening a bachelor degree program. (Friberg, 2011 p.25) Many other universities began offering bachelor degree programs in nursing. However, hospital based programs were still the popular choice. After World War II, a nursing shortage began in the United States. Dr. Mildred Montag suggested training of registered nurses in the community college setting, which the graduating nurse would receive an associate’s degree. The program was intended to prepare nurses in a shorter amount of time to cover the growing need for nurses. At the time, this training was only supposed to be temporary. (Scope of Practice and Differentiated Practice Competencies) The associate’s degree nursing program became very popular, which lead to another form of entry into nursing. Presently, the entry into the profession of nursing still includes diploma, associate degree, and bachelor degree nurses. All three types of nurses all are required to take the licensing examination called the National Council Licensing Examination for RNs (NCLEX-RN). This examination only tests for minimal competency in order to practice nursing. (Rosseter) The NCLEX-RN does not measure the difference of knowledge and competency between the associate degree nurse (ADN) and the bachelor degree nurse (BSN). There is also no legal difference in licensing between these nurses. (Friberg, 2011) Associate degree nurses, which is obtained at a community college, is a common entry into the nursing field. This type of program takes approximately two years to complete. About 42% of nurses obtained their education with an Associate Degree of Nursing (ADN). (Raines, 2008) Nurses that graduate from this type of program are licensed and skilled to work safely in the clinical setting. The nurse from the ADN program is trained to effectively manage caring for patients with defined and predictable health problems using the nursing process. (Scope of Practice and Differentiated Practice Competencies) The ADN program lacks in the broad scope of education that helps students to learn critical thinking skills. Nurses that graduate from a four-year college or univerity are awared with the degree of Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). The BSN program cover all the course-work as the ADN program, but the cirriculum is more thorough. It incorporates nursing research, community nursing, and nurse management. (Raines, 2008) Due to the additional course work, it prepares the BSN nurse for a broader practice in nursing. It also gives them the foundation to advanced nursing roles. (Raines, 2008) BSN nurses are prepared to handle more complex patients, and can care for the needs of a community. (Scope of Practice and Differentiated Practice Competencies) The prepartation of the BSN nurse develops the ability of critical thinking skills, which is essential in nursing care. Today, many hospitals are seeking to hire BSN nurses. This is due for a variety of reasons. One reason is the numerous research that has been conducted on the differences between BSN nurses and ADN nurses with patient outcomes. For example, one study was completed by Dr. Christopher Friese and his colleagues. (Rosseter) This study concluded that nurses prepared with the bachelor degree level were linked with lower mortatlity and failure-to-rescue rates. (Rosseter) Another study lead by the University of Toronto, revealed that hospitals with larger quantities of BSN prepared nurses had a lower 30-day mortality rate. (Rosseter) Although there are recent studies on nursing, the American Nurses Association has recommended since 1965 that the bachelor degree should be the entry point into the profession of nursing. (Friberg, 2011 p. 23) Another reason for hospitals desire to hire BSN nurses, is the aspiration for Magnet status. Magnet is the recognization for nursing excellence and superior outcomes. Any hosptial applying for this status, must show a plan to reach a goal of having an 80% BSN prepared RNs by the year 2020. (Rosseter) The desire for Magent recognition, now has some hospitals hiring a preference to BSN educated nurses. Healthcare is a very demanding field in which to work. The profession of nursing is no exception to these high demands. Registered Nurses are expected to take excellent care of their patients at the bedside, as well as, using critical thinking skills in decision making. One such place where critical thinking is essential for nurses, is the specialized area of labor and delivery. In this environment, quick decisions are made by the nurse that affect patient outcomes for the mother and the baby. An ADN nurse has the necessary skills to effectively and safely assist in delivering an uncomplicated birth of a baby. However, during the process of labor, an uncomplicated delivery can turn to a complicated delivery in an instant. During labor, the fetus may develop distress, and the nurse needs to interperate these findings and act upon them quickly. During this time, the ADN may not have the back-ground education necessary to apply critical thinking skills to make the best judgment and intervention. Because the BSN nurse had critical thinking skills incorporated during their collegiate education, the quick interpretation of a complication may result in saving the patient’s life. Nursing remains to still have three entries into the profession. This may change in the future as the profession of nursing continues to evolve. However, nursing will continue to meet the demands of healthcare, and remain a respected profession.

Friberg, C. a. (2011). Conceptual Foundation: The Bridge to Professional Nursing Practice (5th ed.).
Raines, F. a. (2008). Career Pathways in Nursing: Entry Points and Academic Progression. Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, 13(3), 3-3.
Rosseter, R. (n.d.). Fact Sheet: Creating a More Highly Qualified Nursing Workforce. Retrieved from American Associates of Colleges of Nursing:
Scope of Practice and Differentiated Practice Competencies. (n.d.).…...

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