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Differences in Competencies Between Nurses Prepared at the Associate Degree Level Versus the Baccalaureate Degree Level 1

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Health care is a field that is changing dramatically. Many practicing nurses have various degrees in nursing like Associate Degree, Diploma, Baccalaureate and Master’s degree. Due to the varying levels of education and training, differences exist between the nurses prepared with an Associate degree (ADN) when compared to those nurses who have trained in a Baccalaureate degree (BSN). Though nurses getting these degrees have their differences in preparation, nurses earning these degrees have adequate theoretical and clinical learning experiences. The license qualifying examination for many states- National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) - does not differentiate between ADN and BSN degree prepared nurses and allows nurses with both degrees to take the licensing examination after completion of the degree regardless of the educational background of the applicant. The differences in competencies between nurses prepared with an ADN compared to those prepared with a BSN include the quality of training and duration of the course. From research shown in many well published studies and from my own practice, I feel that such differences in training create various approaches to patient management in similar clinical situations and hence do have a variable effect on patient outcomes.
Nurses with an ADN or a BSN have distinctive differences in their preparation to get their degree. Nurses with an ADN obtain their degree through attending community colleges, nursing schools, or other 4 year colleges or even online (Mahaffey 2002). This short duration degree (ADN) permits nurses to sit for NCLEX exam and become a Registered Nurse (RN) with comparatively reduced tuition and time but the course is intense. When it comes to nursing education, such courses usually emphasize clinical skills which are very task centered (Shipman 2011). This task centered emphasis prepares...

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