Bachelor degree nursing programs are highly regarded for the skilled, clinical thinking, and professionalism of nurses they provide for the community. Obtaining a baccalaureate in nursing provides the same skills and knowledge encompassed in most associate’s programs, while allowing a broadened look into research, public health, management, and humanities (AACN IENP, 2012). Many facilities are now providing incentives for nursing staff to continue their education; from tuition reimbursement, an increase in pay, and played time off for the sole purpose of education.
Research has proven that with a more educated nursing populous there is a decrease in morality rates and medication errors, and it also provides more positive outcomes (AACN Fact Sheet, 2012). With such a high demand for nurses, the scope of nursing has become more comprehensive with a larger responsibility being placed on nurses. All of this has shown not only to the medical field but also policymakers and other leaders of the community that a higher level of education not only makes a difference, but many feel it should be a requirement.
The difference between a baccalaureate and associates degree program may seem obscure at first, but looking into the information and research that students learn in a four year program verses a three year program can be shocking. When looking into the core requisites needed to graduate with a bachelors verses an associates, some obvious differences are the higher levels of English, math, communication, and pathophysiology required to graduate with a BSN.
Also, the higher level course work required to complete a bachelors shows the necessity of critical thinking and research a nurse needs to even graduate. Once past the prerequisites required for a bachelor’s in nursing we have to exam the nursing course work itself. As stated before, most of the associates program is incorporated in a bachelors degree; with an associates the clinical experience is more limited to the clinical setting hospitals, nursing skilled facilities, and rehab centers, where as many bachelors programs also included public and community projects.
Bachelors programs also put a broader focus on ethics, religion and spirituality, research, global awareness and public health, as well as nursing leadership and management (GCU, n. d. ). Nursing care is focused on the assessment, nursing diagnoses, planning, implementation, and evaluation of patients. This nursing process can also be implemented in aspects outside of nursing and on the nursing field as a collective group. The nursing role is evolving, following the process the outcomes have to be evaluated and put into perspective.
Research is being completed the conclusions are all the same, the higher education of nursing care the better the patient outcomes. In an article published in Health Services Research in August 2008 that examined the effect of nursing practice environments on outcomes of hospitalized cancer patients undergoing surgery, Dr. Christopher Friese and colleagues found that nursing education level was significantly associated with patient outcomes. Nurses prepared at the baccalaureate-level were linked with lower mortality and failure-to-rescue rates.
The authors conclude that “moving to a nurse workforce in which a higher proportion of staff nurses have at least a baccalaureate-level education would result in substantially fewer adverse outcomes for patients. ” (AACN Fact Sheet, 2012) A Jewish patient is awaiting discharge after receiving an open heart procedure. The difference a bachelor’s educated nurse and an associate degree nurse may have on the patient can be profound in this scenario.
A bachelors nurse will have a better understanding of the pathophysiology of this patient’s condition, instead of providing instruction on just the patient after care of the procedure the higher level education will allow the nurse to incorporate teaching of the patient’s condition that brought along the cause of the procedure, the nurse will be provide a broader education base to help the patient better understand the treatment and the conditions that they may face.
The bachelors nurse will be able to better identify environmental factors, diet and exercise factors, and other stresses that could be changed to promote health wellness for the patient. The bachelors nurse will be more aware of community based health assistance and programs that will help the patient make more positive health changes. The bachelors nurse will be more aware of the patient’s religious requirements and needs, this may help the patient in making better overall health and wellness decisions.
Also, BSN nurses have a more in-depth education in regards to ethics and religion, this may provide a more trusting bond between the nurse and patients allowing the patient to see that the nurse is there for providing care not only in his treatment but all aspects of the patient’s wellbeing. The history of nursing provides a great foundation and view on how nursing came into existence and how nursing has always strived for higher education. Before World War II great strides were made for university nursing programs, with the onset of war and the need for nurses, diploma and associates nursing found its place (Creasia and Friberg, 2011).
Many feel that the nursing shortage is the reason that diploma and associates nurses programs still exist. Though, with the growing population that has increasing comorbidities it is more important than ever for nurses to have higher education. References American Association of Colleges of Nursing. 2012. Fact Sheet: Creating a More Highly Qualified Nursing Workforce. Retrieved from http://www. aacn. nche. edu/media-relations/NursingWorkforce. pdf American Association of Colleges of Nursing. 2012. The Impact of Education on Nursing Practice.
Retrieved from http://www. aacn. nche. edu/media-relations/fact-sheets/impact-of-education Creasia and Friberg. (2011). Conceptual foundations: The bridge to professional nursing practice. (5th ed. ) St. Louis, Missourit: Mosby Inc. Retrieved from http://pageburstls. elsevier. com/#/books/978-0-323-06869-7/pages/47247567 Grand Canyon University. (n. d. ). Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN to BSN). Retrieved from http://www. gcu. edu/degree-programs/registered-nurse-to-bachelor-of-science-in-nursing.
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