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Competency Differences Between Adn and Bsn Nurses

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Competency Differences between nurses prepared at the Associate-Degree Level (ADN) or Baccalaureate-Degree Level (BSN) level Competency Differences between nurses prepared at the Associate-Degree Level (ADN) or Baccalaureate-Degree Level (BSN) level

It has always been said that the higher level of education one can obtain, the better. Currently for Registered Nurses there are many programs out there that encourage furthering education and enrolling back in school to obtain a Baccalaureate-Degree in Nursing (BSN). Both nurses, whichever program they are enrolled to, are educated through nursing programs that require them and prepare them to take the same National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX). We will be able to see some differences in competency based on educational level and background based on research and evidenced-based practice.
Nurses throughout the United States are being encouraged to enroll back into school to achieve a higher level of education. You can see RN-BSN programs; BSN-MSN, LVN-ADN or LVN-BSN program information anywhere from website advertisements, e-mails, commercials, and magazines. There is no doubt that education is important and that based on the job one is looking to fulfill, certain levels of a degree or certification are required. ADN and BSN nurses, although both RNs, do hold certain traits of differences based on their education level. A nurse with an Associate’s Degree is taught more how to treat the patient medically. They most commonly work in acute-care settings, hospitals and home health agencies. A nurse with a Baccalaureate or Bachelor’s Degree has more opportunities to move up the career ladder. They can provide care just as the nurse with the ADN degree does and do it well, but have an advantage when management opportunities arise and usually this is required for any nurse who is seeking to obtain any management position in nursing. The nurse who is looking to broaden their knowledge and is seeking advancement may benefit from achieving a Bachelor’s degree. Some research suggests that there are better patient outcomes based on the degree preparedness of the nurse. “Numerous research studies have demonstrated that the ADN and BSN nurses are not different in skill competency when they graduate, but within a year, the BSN nurses show greater critical thinking skills, better problem solving, and the development of clinical judgment.” (Moore, 2009). We can ask, well if this is so true, then what about both of these nurses being able to test for and pass the NCLEX exam? Research argues that this is possible because the NCLEX exam is testing for ‘minimal technical competency’ for safe entry into basic nursing practice and not necessarily on knowledge and skills developed through either program. All nurses are considered professional and should very well entail the general knowledge and nursing skills in taking care of a patient medically, however the BSN programs focus more on treating the patient using a holistic nursing approach, they learn more about nursing theory and are exposed more to nursing research and are taught to look at a lot more information on the profession based on evidence-based practice. A quantitative study undertaken to examine whether final semester Associate Degree Nursing (ADN) and Baccalaureate Degree Nursing students who experienced community health content perceived themselves as self-efficacious to work as community health nurses with individuals, families and communities. While the data collected showed that the nurses with both degrees had high overall perceived self-efficacy, the ADN group scored lower in perceived self-efficacy and this is consistent conclusions in literature that ADN students are less prepared to work as Community Health Nurses within communities. (Rosen, 2000). This may be due to the fact that the additional curriculum in the BSN program covers information that emphasizes on evidence-based clinical practice and leadership. They also focus on courses such as research, statistics, critical thinking, and public health and community health. Nurses in ADN programs are taught more as to how to be technical nurses. They are able to provide direct care to patients and families in most acute settings and encompass the knowledge and skills required to care for individuals and families during illness and restoration after medical treatment. Some may argue that the ADN prepared nurse is more “hands-on”. It is more beneficial to any nurse to pursue the highest level of education possible especially in the case of wanting to pursue managerial positions and higher paying jobs. Whether a nurse initially graduates from an ADN or BSN program, they will both have the basic skills and competency to care directly for a patient, there of course is no doubt that if it possible to obtain a higher educational degree that the individual should do so in terms of long term career outlook.
The ADN and BSN nurse can both excel in caring for patients because they are both trained to watch the physiological factors (i.e. airway, breathing, circulation). The BSN prepared nurse may have more of an advantage when it comes to “looking at the picture as a whole”. In terms to how quickly the medical field is changing and evolving, it may be beneficial to any nurse who has an Associate’s Degree in nursing to pursue obtaining their Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing when they are able to do so. With the wide range of availability of programs, loans, grants, and other financial methods, it is in any nurse’s advantage to make it a personal goal to achieve their Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing when possible. References

Fero, L. J., Witsberger, C. M., Wesmiller, S. W., Zullo, T. G., & Hoffman, L. A. (2009). Critical thinking ability of new graduate and experienced nurses. Journal Of Advanced Nursing, 65(1), 139-148. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2648.2008.04834.x
Rosen, L. (2000). Associate and Baccalaureate Degree Final Semester Students' Perceptions of Self-Efficacy Concerning Community Health Nursing Competencies. Public Health Nursing, 17(4), 231-238.

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