Last Updated 18 Feb 2023

Differences Between Associate Degree Nurse and Baccalaureate Degree Nurse

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Differences between associate degree nurse and baccalaureate degree nurse

There are several benefits of having a baccalaureate-degree (BSN) over the associate’s degree (ADN). In this essay, I will discuss how effective communication can be further developed when obtaining the BSN. Next, I will talk about how a BSN can create a more highly qualified nursing workforce. Lastly, it will be explained that getting a BSN will create better career and higher education opportunities.

Effective communication

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“Communication is central to human interaction. Without it, people cannot relate to those around them, make their needs and concerns known or make sense of what is happening to them. One of the most basic goals for nursing staff is that their patients and clients and those who care for them experience effective communication”. Effective communication can be further developed by obtaining a BSN and can ultimately lead you to be a better nurse, leader, and professional. Being a nurse of any level, you are communicating important information regarding the patient. If your report is not thorough, you may miss vital pieces of information pertaining to your patients care. It will build a more trusting relationship between your patients, co-workers and supervisors.

Highly qualified nursing workforce

BSN level nurses will provide a better program than the ADN level nurses with their increase level of critical thinking and using evidence based practice. “The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), the national voice for baccalaureate and graduate nursing programs, believes that education has a significant impact on the knowledge and competencies of the nurse clinician, as it does for all healthcare providers”. The BSN increases knowledge in psychology, science, sociology, and management. The BSN applies the knowledge that they have learned. With the increase of knowledge in management, they will be able to prioritize and organize the workload of the patients.

With the increase of science they will have a better understanding of how the body works and use critical care assessments of the patient with evidence based practice. This will improve patient safety and the care of the patient. The BSN nurses will be more educated in the differences in patient’s culture and way of thinking due to their increase in psychology and sociology. BSN level will have better outcomes for the patient thus leading to lower mortality rates. “In the October 2012 issue of Medical Care, researchers from the University of Pennsylvania found that surgical patients in Magnet hospitals had 14% lower odds of inpatient death within 30 days, and 12% lower odds of failure-to-rescue compared with patients cared for in non-Magnet hospitals.

The study authors conclude that these better outcomes were attributed in large part to investments in highly qualified and educated nurses, including a higher proportion of baccalaureate prepared nurses”. As an example of a patient care situation, two men came into the ER with gunshot wounds, one to the leg and the other to the abdomen. The ADN nurse went straight to the man with the abdomen gunshot, not noticing the man with a gunshot wound to the leg was not breathing. The bullet had hit his popliteal artery; therefore he had lost too much blood to survive. The nurse should have done her quick assessment correctly as evidence based practice has shown. This goes to show that using critical care thinking and evidence based theory not only end in better outcomes but also can saves patients lives.

Higher education opportunities

A BSN degree is essential if you want to move to a leadership or management role. Leadership skills are essential when you are a charge nurse, on a committee or in administration. A BSN education will provide you with confidence to excel in these settings. “The nation’s Magnet hospitals, which are recognized for nursing excellence and superior patient outcomes, have moved to require all nurse managers and nurse leaders to hold a baccalaureate or graduate degree in nursing by 2013. Settings applying for Magnet designation must also show what plans are in place to achieve the IOM recommendation of having an 80% baccalaureate prepared RN workforce by 2020”. One more advantage of baccalaureate-degree program is that it is a bridge for master’s degree level.


BSN level nurses will provide a better program than the ADN level nurses. Critical thinking, communication, and leading are imperative to the nursing career. “Professionalism, ethical decision making, accountability, critical thinking, and effective communication are emphasized. This is achieved through the application of liberal arts constructs, science, health and nursing theories, and the values of the Christian faith within the scope of nursing knowledge and evidence-based practice”. Education is the key for success and better outcome of patients.

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