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Differences in Competencies: Associate Versus Baccalaureate Nurse Essay

The field of nursing has come a long way. It was once considered to be a profession for that of the less fortunate. But as the years went by the field of nursing has made drastic changes in that of schooling and duties of the nurse. No longer has the field of nursing considered for those who has nothing else to do or those of less fortunate, but over the years education has played an important role in the success of this profession.

In the eighteen century, nursing were considered to be more hands on, but theories saw the need for a more formal education. Over the years, there have been debates about the entry level for nursing. Some say there’s no difference between the associate (ADN) and the baccalaureate (BSN) degree. In the following paragraphs I will expound on the differences between the ADN and the BSN degree. The ADN program came about because of the shortage in nursing in the post-war years. It is a two year program developed by Mildred Montag designed as an entry level for nursing. Friberg, 2011, p. 14).

The outcome of this program was very successful. It yielded the same results and those who had completed the five year program by successfully passing the licensure examination for nurses. Because of this great success the ADN program went full force into action. The ADN program became more popular. It now opens the door for those who were not able to attend the five year program. It worked well for older ladies, especially those who were married, and certainly more cost effective. (Friberg, 2011, p. 15).

Nurses at the associate and the baccalaureate level are taught in nursing schools to use the nursing process. This is a tool that is set up for nurses to help the patient recover from their current illnesses, and also to aid the physicians in treating their patients. The nursing process includes assessing the patient or situation, diagnose the patient using nursing diagnosis and gathering pertinent information, developed a care plan on how the needs of the patient will be met, put those plan into action and monitor the patient to see if any changes need to be made to the current interventions.

The American Association of Colleges of nursing (AACN) states the difference between the associate and baccalaureate level as that of theory, research, public and community health and that management. (AACN, 2012). Both programs take the same exit exam, the NCLEX to become a registered nurse in order to practice in their own state.. At the BSN level the nurse can take on leadership responsibilities. You may find them as charge nurses, managers, and even as bedside leaders as on the unit that I currently work. Because their training consists more of research; you may also find them to be more efficient with the nursing process.

They are able to think fast in an emergency situation and developing a plan of action. Because of their leadership skills they are able to delegate the right task especially to new nurses or those flexing from another floor. My charge nurse currently has her BSN and when in doubt or have questions about a doctor’s order she is always quick in examining the order and ready to make suggestions based on her leadership skills. Three weeks ago I had a fresh post-operative patient from PACU. Upon arrival his blood pressure was 109/62 and heart rate 88. At four A. M. the tech called me and said that the patient’s Bp was 88/55.

I immediately lowered the patient’s head and raised his feet, waited for fifteen minutes, then retake his BP. The new reading shows 99/56. Based on the patient’s baseline I was ok with that. I delegate to the tech to retake BP in an hour. An hour later it went even lower. I then went to the charge nurse who has her BSN to let him know of the situation and my plan of action. He immediately got a different BP machine and went to the patient’s room explained what we’re doing and that if his BP is still low we will need to call the emergency response team. To our surprised the patient’s BP was in the low 100’s.

At that moment I was not thinking about changing the machine, but he being trained critically was able to think quick in coming up with another plan. I do understand that practice becomes perfect, but the level of education of my charge nurse sure did make a difference. Some say there’s no difference in the competencies of the ADN level versus the BSN level. Based on my own personal experiences and that of the theories, it does demonstrate that those trained with a higher level of education are more versed to critically think their way through problems and act quickly.

According to Grand Canyon University philosophers, students are educated to provide, direct, and evaluate client-centered care while focusing on the person as an integrated whole. Baccalaureate degrees also broaden your job search. There are more positions available at this level, than that of the associate level. Most hospitals i. e. Emory no longer employ nurses with an associate degree. A lady once said to me that whatever I am now doing will not take me to where I am going. So it is with the associate degree, based on theological and scientifically advancement, the associate degree will not take us much further throughout this profession.


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