Rn Competencies Essay

1174 words - 5 pages

Competency Differences: Associate-degree level versus Baccalaureate-degree level nurses
Karolyn M. Walker
Grand Canyon University: NRS-430V Professional Dynamics
June 24th, 2012

Competency Differences: Associate-degree level versus Baccalaureate-degree level nurses
The future of nursing education changed forever in the 1950’s when Mildred Montag successfully created the two-year associate degree in nursing. Men and women who were unable to attend nursing school due to families, work situations, or for financial reason were able to attend these programs and aid in reducing the nursing shortage that was rapidly growing in our country. Montag proposed education for a new kind of ...view middle of the document...

This study showed that the ability to instruct, encourage, and train is a commonly expected outcome of baccalaureate nursing education (DeBack & Mentkowski 1986).
Another study published in the Journal of Advanced Nursing, looks at a relationship between educational levels and degree of proficiency to which the nurse makes nursing diagnosis, executes and implements the nursing process, and evaluates the effects of nursing interventions in specific nursing care situation. The study showed that baccalaureate-degree nurses outscored associate-degree nurses in the professional category. One example given showed that baccalaureate-degree nurses were more concerned with research methodology, teaching, and individual, group and community assessment while the associate-degree nurse was more concerned with the technical aspects of nursing care which included maintenance of equipment and direct nursing care (Davidhizar & Giger 1990).
The AACN’s fact sheet, The Impact of Education on Nursing Practice discusses The National Advisory Council on Nurse Education and Practice found that the increased complexity of the scope of RN practice requires nurses that have the ability to adapt to change. It requires critical thinking and problem solving skills; a sound foundation in a broad range of basic sciences; knowledge of behavioral, social and management sciences; and the ability to analyze and communicate data. The NACNEP found that the education provided at the baccalaureate level provides a broader and stronger scientific curriculum that best fulfills these requirements and provides a sound foundation for addressing the complex health care needs of today (2012).
Patient care is the root of the nurse role. One of the tasks that nurses must be successful at is delegating to unlicensed assistive personnel. According to one study nurses who were associate degree prepared were initially less confident in delegating tasks to UAPs when compared to RNs with a baccalaureate degree or higher (Pinto-Zipp & Saccomano, 2011). As an associate degree level nurse I can agree that this is one area that I have always struggled with. I have personally seen this as a problem in my own patient cares leading to a decrease in positive patient outcomes. With caring for larger numbers of acutely ill patients and resources being more scarce, an adequately trained RN/UAP team can help support those optimal patient outcomes. I have seen patient’s suffer due to the inability to effectively delegate: medications not passed in a timely manner, change in patient’s conditions not evaluated effectively or in a timely manner, and patient education lacking. Being able to effective delegate requires nurses to be adequately trained for supervisory functions (Pinto-Zipp & Saccomano, 2001) which I feel is more thoroughly...

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