What is the difference between associate and baccalaureate degree nursing? The associate degree is a two to three year entry level tertiary education nursing degree. The associate degree like the baccalaureate degree can sit for NCLEX-RN and be licensed as a registered nurse. The bachelor degree is a four year academic degree in the science and principles of nursing (Wikipedia). The baccalaureate degree prepares professional nurses for a role away from the bedside and opens up new opportunities for career advancement and higher salary, such as administration, research, consulting, and teaching.
These positions not available to the associate degree nurses. The baccalaureate degree goes beyond the associate degree by a more in-depth scholastic requirement of physical and social sciences, nursing research, public and community health, nurse management and the humanities with a better understanding of issues that affect and influence health care today such as cultural, political, social and economic factors.
Health care is rapidly evolving and so the role of the professional nurse must change accordingly. Nurses today are a large part of the interdisciplinary team, and as the primary providers responsible for direct patient care and education, the better educated the nurses caring for the patient, the safer the delivery of care will be given. A strong education will have an impact on a nurse’s ability to practice and all patients deserve the best educated nurse’s available.
Education is the key to the registered nurses career advancements. Nurses with a bachelors degree are better prepared for the demands of nursing today in roles of leadership, case management and health promotion, and the ability to practice in a variety of inpatient and outpatient settings. A growing body of research reinforces the belief that shows a connection between baccalaureate education and lower patient mortality rates. (American Association of Collages of Nursing).
Multiple nursing councils have issued a statement asking all registers nurse’s to advance their education in the interest of quality and safety across healthcare settings to meet the nations needs to deliver safe, effective patient care (Education Advancement of Registered Nurses. ) As the needs of the public grow, the expectations of quality educated nurses grow and become more complex. Evidence based research supports the theory that nurses prepared in a bachelor degree program are more likely to complete the graduate level of education.
Job growth, is expected to be the greatest in higher education positions. Nurses with a baccalaureate degree or higher are more marketable than the associate degree nurse, as shown by the fact that BSN nurses have stronger communication and problem solving skills and are more proficient in the ability to make nursing diagnoses and evaluate nursing interventions (Giger and Davidhizar, 1990 fact sheet ). The baccalaureate nurse’s demonstrate higher competency in communication, leadership, professional integration, and research evaluation. (Phillips et al. , 2002 fact sheet ).
Differentiated Nursing Practice is the new model of care”(fact sheet), it is defined by level of education, clinical skills, job descriptions, pay scale, and decision making participation. These models of care can be the stepping stone to advancement within the organization with the foundation being experience, education, certifications or other indicators of professional excellence. Evidence of a differentiated practice can foster positive outcomes in ways of job satisfaction, staffing costs, turnover rates, and lower adverse outcomes such as medication errors, patient falls and injuries to staff and patients. fact sheet).
As a patient is admitted to the hospital either through the emergency department, operating room or the clinics, case management is involved at the moment of admission, the case manager must have an educational background to support the needs of the patients future past the hospital admission. Is the patient going to be able to care for themselves at home with or without a caregiver? Will they need a long term care facility, will they need just a few weeks in a rehabilitation center before going home? Could they benefit from an advanced care hospital before a rehab or extended care facility?
These are the questions that a case manager must answer as part of the multi interdisciplinary team. Without a higher level of education the case manager would not be able to take in all the issues from injury and/or illness to culture and environment to make an educated nursing diagnosis and facilitate the needs of the patient. As the diagnoses become more of a multi systems dysfunction, the bigger the challenge for the entire medical staff, to coordinate total care for the patients. As a graduate from a BSN nursing program the case manager has the education to address all the issues.
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