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The Differences in Competencies Between Nurses Prepared at the Associates-Degree Level vs.
The Baccalaureate-Degree Level in Nursing
Kimberly K Gormley
Grand Canyon University: NRS-430V Professional Dynamics
June 9, 2013

There has been much debate on the subject of whether nurses that graduated at the baccalaureate-degree level are better prepared than nurses educated at the associate-degree level. I was educated at the associate-degree level at a community college here in my local community in a program that consisted of two years or four semesters and was called the “nursing program”. Before I entered the program I also completed four semesters of prerequisites to be qualified into the program. One of the requirements at that time but has since been dropped as a requirement here in Arizona was to obtain your certified nursing assistant license. During my experience in the nursing program the common held belief was that hospitals preferred to hire nurses that had graduated from the community college associate-degree level because they were better prepared in the clinical setting than baccalaureate-degree nurses who spent more of their time in the classroom.
A focus group study was conducted at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill School of Nursing that addressed this very question. Completed by Oermann, M., Poole-Dawkins, K., Alvarez, M., Foster, B., & O'Sullivan, R. (2010). Managers' perspectives of new graduates of accelerated nursing. Journal of Continuing Education in Nursing , 41(9), 394-402, the focus group had identified that new graduate nurses are challenged by the acuity and complex status of their patients, are overwhelmed with the continually changing nature of the healthcare field, the quick thinking necessary to keep up with the pace, complied with the sheer number of patients they are required to care for. The project...

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