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Bachelors Degree Versus Associates Degree in Nursing

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Bachelors Degree versus Associates Degree in Nursing
Steve Doane
Grand Canyon University

There are three ways to become a registered nurse. A 3 year program working with a hospital earns you a diploma registered nurse. Attending a 2 year college, such as a community college, earns you an associate degree in nursing. Attending a 4 year college, which is a university, earns you a bachelors degree in nursing. Nurses with their associate’s degree are limited in finding a job; they are getting what is considered entry level jobs. For example, jobs at a long term care facility, due to the difficulty for them of getting a job at a hospital. Most hospitals want to hire nurses with their bachelors degree, as opposed to a nurse with their associates degree. Nurses with their associate’s degree do not have the same level of education, leadership skills and critical thinking skills. Nurses with their associate degree are getting the basics in nursing school. Nurses with their baccalaureate are getting a more in depth education. The increased capability means that nurses with their baccalaureate are getting more of the jobs in the hospitals and in management positions. The new healthcare reform is requiring that 80% of nurses have their baccalaureate degree by the year 2020(Wood, Robert 2013). In order to comply with these new regulations, nurses with baccalaureate degree are in demand with the hospitals. Hospitals, federal agencies, the military, nurse executives, magnet hospitals, and nursing organizations recognize the importance of a nurse with their bachelors degree. They recognize how well prepared they are to meet the demands of nursing care. A nurse with their bachelors degree are recognized for their skills in leadership, management, health promotion and critical thinking. They have the ability to practice different types of nursing ranging from inpatient to outpatients settings. It is beneficial to hire a nurse with their baccalaureate, as they are able to develop and implement highly complex care plans for patients with complex situations including those who are chronically ill or transitioning between care settings. There is a growing demand for advanced practices, in which, the nurse with their baccalaureate would be qualified to perform. They are able to deliver both primary and acute care to patients of all ages. More nurses are getting involved with on site leadership roles in redesigning of the care systems. It has been proven that having a highly educated nurse leads to better out comes for the patient. This includes lower readmissions rates, shorter hospital stays, and lower mortality rates. There was a study published in the October 2014 issue of Medical Care, by researcher Olga Yakusheva from the University of Michigan and her colleagues. They found that there were lower odds of patient mortality rate by 10.9%(Yakusheva, Olga 2013). It seems that nurses with their baccalaureate are more prepared to handle any situation at any time. Schools that once were providing associate degree programs are now stopping that and providing baccalaureate programs instead. It is even being said, that eventually primary care providers will decrease and a nurse at a graduate level will be stepping in for patient care. An example of patient care by a nurse with their bachelors as opposed to a nurse with her diploma or their associates degree would that other nurses tend to have more respect for a nurse with their bachelors as opposed to a nurse with their diploma or associates degree. For example, one night you are working in the emergency room and a patient is brought in who was in a car accident and is not breathing. The doctor is in another room directing a code. The nurse with the bachelors degree steps in gets the patient into a trauma room, calls the code, starts chest compressions, directs other teams members to administer oxygen, start intravenous lines, then the doctor comes in, the nurse steps aside and he continues with the code. The team saves the patient’s life because the nurse with the bachelors degree jumped in right away to start the code. The nurse with the associates degree might not have been so quick to start the code due to lack of leadership skills which would have affected the patients out come in a negative way. I myself did not realize the importance of a registered nurse with their baccalaureate as opposed to a nurse with their associates degree. Now I understand how important it is to have your baccalaureate and that it does affect patient care and your future. As a nurse with your baccalaureate there are more opportunities for you in the nursing world.

References
Johns, Robert Wood (2013) George Washington University, Charting Nursing’s Future newsletter titled “The Case for Academic Progression” http://www.rwjf.org/content/dam/farm/reports/issue_briefs/2013/rwjf407597
Yakusheva, O., Lindrooth, R. & Weiss, M. (2014, October). Economic evaluation of the 80% baccalaureate

nurse workforce recommendation: A patient-level analysis. Medical Care, 52(10), 864-869.

http://www.aacn.nche.edu/media-relations/fact-sheets/impact-of-education

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