There are 2 common, but different, pathways to receiving a RN license. You can earn a bachelor’s degree (BSN) or an associate degree, (ADN). While there are similarities between the two programs, a BSN takes two additional years of college at a university. Both programs teach nursing skills, electives ,science courses, and clinicals. But, the BSN program is a more in-depth study of nursing research, theory, evidence based practice, management, community, and public health nursing.
The baccalaureate program gives the individual the added benefit of having more education. “ No matter which type of entry into practice program one chooses, “the demands placed on nursing in the emerging health care system are likely to require a greater proportion of RNs who are prepared beyond the associate degree or diploma level. (Recreating health professional practice for a new century. , 1998). Even though the BSN has more education, both graduates are held to the same standards of practice. ADN and BSN nurses must pass the NCLEX exam.
They have the same patient workload, responsibilities, and the same starting rate of pay. This brings up the often debate, are their competencies any different ? Mildred Montag created the 2 year associate degree after World War II. Several important goals were attained by the AD programs’ success. It helped train registered nurses to help replace baccalaureate nurses in a shorter time. ” A new pool of students, including men, married women with children, and older than typical undergraduates, were now able to choose nursing career” (Creasia & Friberg, 2011, p. 1). Montag assumed these nurses would be assistants to the professional nurses, and since there has been a long debate on whether this degree should continue. The conflict is related to the educational level, leadership, and critical thinking skills of the BSN vs. ADN. Many other countries, Canada, Sweden, Portugal, and the Philippines all require a four year BSN degree for entry level RN. I do believe employers in the United States are moving towards a BSN for entry level as they did before the ADN was developed. In 1965, the American Nurses Association (ANA) designated the baccalaureate degree as the educational entry point into professional nursing practice”(Creasia & Friberg, 1965/2011, p. 4). Most employers have a strong preference for hiring a BSN, as nurses continue to expand their roles and are providing more community based care away from the hospital. Society is also changing and patient needs are becoming more complex as they are living longer, have more chronic illness, and technology advancing. These are reasons a BSN is becoming more apparent in our society today.
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Does having a BSN mean she/he is more competent over the other ADN ? A BSN is better prepared to meet all the patients needs. They can better assist with teaching in the communities, can take a leadership position, function as clinical nurse leaders( charge nurse), has more advanced critical thinking skills, familiar with nursing research, evidence based practice, and theory. Evidence based practice( EBP), means to back up opinions and practices with facts. Basically, the more we think about what we’re doing and why the better nurses we will be.
We learned the importance of this from Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing. She used EBP to improve the conditions of hospitals during the Crimean war. She assessed the environment, collected data, identified interventions, and monitored patient outcomes. In less than 6 months her interventions significantly decreased the mortality of soldiers. Nightingale utilized supporting evidence to transform healthcare(Cooper, 2011, p. 1) With her information, evidence based practice became used and appreciated. Nurses need to know what proven techniques and interventions have been found to be most effective.
They can only do this by applying evidence based practice, which is better taught at a BSN level. A BSN can continue to expand their role as a RN, using their BSN as a stepping stone towards, nurse practitioner ,nurse midwife, or nurse anesthetist, if they decide to do so. BSN nurses will find it easier to get faculty teaching positions, higher level administrative roles in hospitals and state or federal level government jobs(Forster, 2008, p. 1). In today’s world more is expected from a nurse than ever before. Nursing practice is not just starting IV’s and following doctors’ orders.
The public expects care to be delivered by a professional nurse. The RN must be able to make critical decisions about a patients care, to question the doctor if orders seem inappropriate and to help the patient through some times life-changing decisions. This takes an education that is broad based, one that includes critical thinking and exposure to many different people, thought processes, and culture and societal norms. (Forster, 2008, p. 1). ADN usually cost less and takes less time to complete, but isn’t always the best choice if career advancement is wanted.
The quality of our patient care is dependent on our education. Both are wonderful paths for anyone pursuing a nursing career and offer excellent pay, job security, and a wide range of work environments and experiences.
- Cooper, C. (2011). Transforming Healthcare through the use of evidence based practice [journal]. Nursing Excellence, 1(1), 1. Retrieved from http://www. childrenscentralcal. org
- Cooper, C. (2011). Transforming Healthcare through the use of evidence based practice [online newsletter]. Nursing Excellence, 1(1), 1. Retrieved from http://www. childrenscentralcal. rg
- Creasia, J. L. , & Friberg, E. (2011). Introduction. In E. Mosby (Ed. ), Conceptual Foundations : The Bridge to Professional nursing practice (p. 4). Retrieved from (Original work published 1965)
- Creasia, J. L. , & Friberg, E. (2011). Nursing in Institutions of Higher Education. In E. Mosby (Ed. ), Conceptual Foundations: The Bridge to Professional Nursing Practice (p. 41). Retrieved from
- Forster, H. (2008). ADN vs BSN. Retrieved from http://nursinglink. monster. com/education/articles/3842adn-vs-bsn Pew Health Professions Commission. (1998). San Francisco: Author.
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