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Difference between associate degree nurse and baccalaureate degree nurse competency

hope ward,RN

grand canyon university


This paper will detail the differences between ADN(associate degree nurse) and BSN(baccalaureate degree nurse). Both are nurses but they are different in the amount of education each degree requires.

Associate Degree Nurse ADN nurses are those that attend community colleges for 2 to 3 years. ADN graduates are qualified to take the National Council Licensure Exam (NCLEX). If the AND graduate passes the NCLEX, they are licensed as a registered nurse in the state they live
Baccalaureate Degree Nurse BSN nurses attend college for 4 to 5 years. The first 2 years are mainly general education classes. The last 2 to 3 years are nursing classes. BSN graduates are also eligible to the NCLEX. They also are licensed as a registered nurse if they pass the state text. In the post war years both ADN and BSN programs were founded. The ADN program was established to address the nursing shortage. It was a shorter program that concentrated mainly on clinical skills. BSN programs also focused on clinical skills but went on to teach education and administrative skills. BSN programs are mainly taught in universities unlike ADN programs. Some studies have shown that higher qualified and educated nurses such as those with a BSN degree, produce better patient outcomes. A study of Magnet hospitals in Pennsylvania which employed more BSN nurses, had a lower rate of inpatient deaths within a 30 day period and lower odds of failure-to-rescue compared to non-magnet hospitals with more less educated ADN nurses.
Patient Care Scenario A patient presents to the ICU with nausea, vomiting and diarrhea for 3 days. The patient is attached to the cardiac monitor and vital signs obtained as follows-HR-126, respirations 22 bpm, O2 sats 98% on 2 LPM and bp 82/40 map 45. Pt complains of weakness, dizziness and states she feels faint. The ADN nurse may attribute all the symptoms to the low blood pressure and may assume the patient needs vasopressors. The BSN nurse on the other hand, may assess that the patient is severely dehydrated and simply needs IV fluids. ADN programs generally concentrate on patient care at the bedside. They learn how to care for the patient and family with a direct hands on approach. BSN nurses may be better in administrative or leadership roles because this is what they are trained for. BSN nurses only learn fundamentals of leadership. BSN nurses are taught critical thinking skills as well as evidence based decision making. ADN nurses are not taught the evidence based skills because the program is so short. To conclude, ADN and BSN nurses should always focus on safety and patent outcome first. Both should continue to educate themselves with the changing healthcare system. Patients don’t really care if they have an ADN or BSN nurse caring for them. What they remember is the experience, caring and kindness of the nurse that cared for them. At the end of the day, the patient is most important and their opinion is what affects hospital surveys all around the world.


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