More and more workplaces are requiring their employees to have a baccalaureate degree. Is there really a difference in the level of care a patient will receive from nurse with an associate’s degree of Nursing versus a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing? According to many studies and research they say there is a difference between the two. “In the baccalaureate nursing practice incorporates the roles of assessing, critical thinking, communicating, providing care, teaching, and leading. The caring professional approach includes the values of autonomy, altruism, human dignity integrity, and social justice with unconditional regard for all people (Grand Canyon Philosophy, 2011).”
“Currently, data suggests that approximately 50% of the nursing staff on a given unit are Bachelor of Science nurses (BSNs). The other 50% of the staff may be composed of associate degree nurses (ADNs) with less academic training with more or less professional experience in caring for complex or critical patients in today’s environment (Sexton, 2008).” BSNs are a better-rounded individual. BSN programs include more science based classes and liberal arts, whereas the ADN programs have a basic science background and more focused on the skills and clinical portion of nursing. Many nurse leaders recommend BSN training for entry into practice because studies indicate better patient outcomes, better nurse satisfaction, and greater longevity in the workplace for BSNs as compared with their colleagues with less academic training (differentiating workplace).
There have been studies completed that compare the mortality rate of patients that were taken care of by nurses with their ADN versus BSN. According to the fact sheet Creating a More Highly Qualified Nursing Workforce they found that “a 10-point increase in the percentage of nurses holding a BSN within a hospital was associated with an average reduction of 2.12 deaths for every 1,000 patients and for a subset of patients with complications, an average reduction of 7.47 deaths per 1,000 patients (Creating a More Highly Qualified Workforce, 2103).”
All nurses sit for the same N-CLEX-RN licensing examination. “New nurses pass the licensing exam at the same rate does not mean all nurses are prepared equally for practice (Creating a More Highly Qualified Workforce, 2103).” The N-CLEX exam just tests for the minimum knowledge one needs to become a registered nurse. ADNs and BSNs have the same skill level but BSNs I believe have better critical thinking skills, which in turn cause them to be better at problem solving in a patient care situation.
At my current job I was trying to think of some situations where it would be better to have my BSN and where it would improve patient care. I work for an ophthalmologist at an eye surgery center. Our patient population can range from kids to the elderly. We take care of the elderly more so than any other age range. We do surgery once a week, mostly cataract surgery. Other procedures are performed but not as frequently as the cataracts. I work as a pre-op nurse mostly but occasionally will do post-op or work in the operating room. On the days I’m not working in surgery I work in creating quality improvement studies, benchmarking, infection control, and do things with risk management.
I have been doing this job for two and half years now. Prior to this job I was a floor nurse that worked in rehab with patients that had just got out of the hospital that weren’t quite ready to go home. My friend told me that she knew a job opening that she thought would be good for me, which is the job I have now. This job was something I had never done or knew nothing about. It was a job that I said I would never want to do. I always wanted to be a nurse because of the patient care aspect and helping patients when they were at their worst helping them to get better.
If I had my BSN this would make me better at my job. I have to put together quality improvement studies. I was never been taught anything about quality improvement while in school for my ADN. I have had to learn as I go. Another thing I have to do is write up incident reports. From those incident reports I have to look for trends. If there are trends I have to write up a plan or start a study to keep other patients from experiencing the same situations that put them at risk, which promotes better patient care. If I had my BSN I would have learned about all this and would be able to better care for the patients. Right now I don’t understand why I have to do all that I do and how it makes me take better care of the patients. Having my BSN would allow
me to understand this and let me know why we do this.
There are many advantages in having a BSN versus an ADN. It makes sense why most workplaces are requiring a bachelor’s degree now a days. It makes the nursing working in the field better-rounded and better able to take care of their patients in all aspects.
Carroll, C. A., Cox, K. S., Hunt, C. E., Sexton, K. A., & Teasley, S. L. (2008). Differentiating the Workplace Needs of Nurses by Academic Preperation and Years in Nursing. Jouranl of Professional Nursing, 28, 105-108. Doi:10.1016/j.profnurs..2007.06.021 Fact Sheet: Creating a M Highly Qualified Nursing Workforce. (2013). Retrieved from http://www.aacn.nche.edu/media-relations/NursingWorkforce.pdf Grand Canyon University College of Nursing Philosophy. (2011). Retrieved from https://lc-ugrad1.gcu.edu/learningPlatform/content/content.html?operation=viewContent&contentId=68ec9ae6-1809-49f7-886b-a80e82621fcf