Comparing Competencies of the Associate Versus Baccalaureate Degree Prepared Nurse
The American Association of Nursing (AACN) defines nursing as “the protection, promotion, and organization of health and abilities, prevention of illness and injury, alleviation of suffering through the diagnosis and treatment of human response, and advocacy in the care of individuals, families, communities, and populations”. (American Nurses Association;) Nurses receive education in the United States by completing a baccalaureate degree (BSN), associate degree (ADN) or diploma program. Graduation from one of these programs allow the nurse to be eligible to write the National Council Licensure Examination ...view middle of the document...
As a result, the Essential Competencies of Texas Graduates of Education Programs in Nursing was published in 1993, and in 1994 this document was accepted by the Board of Nurse examiners by the state of Texas (Poster et al., 2005). The competencies were divided into three areas: a) Provider of Care, b) Coordinator of Care, and c) Member of a Profession (Poster et al.).
A significant difference in the competency between ADN and BSN is noted in the tables provided by Poster et al. (2005) in the Provider of Care category. The ADN will “use critical thinking approach to analyze clinical data and current literature as a basis for decision making in nursing practice” (Poster, et al., 2005, p. 22), while the BSN will “ use an evidence base analytical approach as the basis for decision making in practice” (Poster, et al., 2005, p. 22).
The American Association of Colleges of Nursing delineated the differences between ADN and BSN with the publishing of the following explanation, “Baccalaureate nursing programs encompass all of the course work taught in associate degree and diploma programs plus a more in-depth treatment of the physical and social sciences, nursing research, public and community health, nursing management, and the humanities. The additional course work enhances the student’s professional development, prepares the new nurse for a broader scope of practice, and provides the nurse with a better understanding of the cultural, political, economic, and social issues that affect patients and influence health care delivery.” (American Association of Colleges of Nursing., 2012)
Conceptual Foundations: The Bridge to Professional Nursing Practice, 5th Edition notes that, “to prepare nurses for this multifaceted role, several components are essential for all baccalaureate programs. These components are liberal education, quality and patient safety, evidence-based practice, information management, health care policy and finance, communication/collaboration, clinical prevention/population health, and professional values.” (Creasia & Friberg, 2011, p. 25)
Conceptual Foundations: The Bridge to Professional Nursing Practice, 5th Edition also notes that, associate nursing (ADN) programs “prepare technical bedside nurses for secondary care settings, such as community hospitals and long-term health care facilities.” (Creasia & Friberg, 2011, p.26) These differences are subtle but can impact patient care.
Differences in Competencies Applied to Practice
Lynette and Abby are two RN’s who have been working in the Intensive Care Unit since graduation. Lynette obtained a BSN while Abby has an ADN. They have cared for Mrs. Jones for the last 3 days, Lynette on the day shift, and Abby on nights. Mrs. Jones post operative course by cardio-pulmonary arrest on her first night after surgery. Mrs. Jones remains intubated because she is not breathing spontaneously as a result of anoxic brain injury. As part of Mrs. Jones plan...