Jennifer JimenezGrand Canyon University NRS-430VChris BartholomewMarch 11, 2018
How important is it for a nurse to advance their degree from an associate in nursing to a bachelor’s degree in nursing? Some may argue that it is not important at all, while others may say it makes a world of difference for patient care. Is the nurse who attends school for two years less qualified than the nurse who attends school for four years? Does the nurse who attends school for four years forget their clinical skill in lieu of attending school an additional two years? Although an associate degree in nursing helps with nursing shortages, obtaining a BSN degree is beneficial to patient care; it provides a higher standard for nurses, thus, leading to improved patient outcomes (American Nurses Credentialing Center, 2018).
Two-year nursing programs prepare nurses at a faster rate to work as a registered nurse and provide the skill set to work in response to nursing shortages (Mahaffey, 2002). However, accelerated BSN programs are available as well for nurses and although ADN degree holders may have the same skill set as those holding a BSN, the latter may be able to view nursing from an advanced perspective and will usually utilize leadership and critical thinking skills (Creasia ; Friberg, 2015). Whereas, ADN nurses are readily trained as bedside nurses and may not be considered for advanced positions in an ever-changing field such as nursing (ANCC, 2018). To further aid ADN nurses in obtaining a BSN degree there are accelerated programs where both degrees can be achieved simultaneously. The nurse attends an ADN program at a community college and a BSN program at a four-year school concurrently. Furthermore, RN-BSN track programs exist to facilitate completion of the BSN program by including the direct transfer of credits (Creasia ; Friberg, 2015).
Additionally, obtaining a BSN has been shown to be beneficial to patient care, because it leads to better patient outcomes (Friese, Lake, Aiken, Silber ; Sochalski, 2008). The ADN program initially designed by Mildred Montag was done so with the intent that nurses would work under the direction of peers prepared at the baccalaureate level in the field of nursing (Creasia ; Friberg, 2015). The fact that new nurses pass the licensing exam at the same rate does not mean that all entry-level nurses are similarly ready for practice (AANC, 2018). Even though all nurses take the National Council Licensure Examination, the test only reflects the nurse is competent for safe entry into basic nursing practice (AACN, 2018). The BSN nurse expands their knowledge of nursing such as information management, advanced critical thinking and so forth. (American Association of Colleges of Nursing AACN, 2008a) (Creasia ; Friberg). Nursing is a challenging field that is continuously evolving. It is essential for the nurse to prepare by obtaining the knowledge to research and view nursing as a science. A nurse qualified at an ADN lacks a broader understanding of nursing science.
Finally, research has shown that the most important reasons for obtaining a BSN include lower mortality rates, fewer medication errors, and positive outcomes (AANC, 2018). In my personal work experience, our unit is currently working on a fall prevention project led by nurses who hold a BSN degree. These nurses have the educational background and clinical knowledge to develop and implement a performance improvement project that involves several components including determining a cause analysis to aid in finding solutions to a problem. Additionally, the BSN nurse can apply critical thinking skills to research the causing factors and initiate a plan to address weaknesses and establish strengths. Ultimately, the goal is to improve safety and increase better patient outcomes by utilizing best evidence-based practice. In our unit, The BSN nurse leads a team by collaborating with other nurses to research and document the contributing factors to patient falls. The nurse with a BSN degree can manage the statistical information to prevent patients from falling by applying measurable interventions and evaluating needs to change or improve the project.
Undeniably, an ADN degree may assist with nursing shortages but obtaining a BSN degree is beneficial to patient outcomes. Hospitals are moving towards becoming magnet hospitals. Employers are encouraging their nurses to pursue advanced degrees by offering tuition reimbursement and other incentives. Employers are taking notice that a nurse’s education is more valuable than saving money in the short run (AACN, 2018). In 2014, The AACN conducted a survey indicating that 79% of employers prefer BSN prepared nurses (AACN, 2018). As the nursing profession advances and continually evolves, nurses should adapt accordingly to stay up to date with advances in best evidence-based practice to contribute to improved patient outcomes.
Creasia, Joan L., Elizabeth Friberg. Conceptual Foundations: The Bridge to Professional Nursing Practice, 5th Edition. Mosby. VitalBook file.
Competency Model . (2013). Retrieved from https://learn.ana-nursingknowledge.org/template/ana/publications_pdf/leadershipInstitute_competency_model_brochure.pdfFriese, C. R., Lake, E. T., Aiken, L. H., Silber, J. H., & Sochalski, J. (2008). Hospital Nurse Practice Environments and Outcomes for Surgical Oncology Patients. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/pmc2517272/
Mahaffey, E., (2002). The Relevance of Associate Degree Nursing Education: Past, Present, Future.Retrievedhttp://www.nursingworld.org/MainMenuCategories/ANAMarketplace/ANAPeriodicals/OJIN/TableofContents/Volume72002/No2May2002/RelevanceofAssociateDegree.html
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