Discuss the difference between associate-degree level versus the baccalaureate-degree level


Discuss thedifference between associate-degree level versus thebaccalaureate-degree level

According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (2015),in 2013, 55% of the registered nurse workforce had a baccalaureate orhigher degree. Whether or not there exist differences incompetencies between baccalaureate degree nurses and associate degreenurses has been a subject of much debate. Both the ADN and BSNpossess the necessary clinical competencies to achieve positivepatient outcomes. However, research has established that hospitalswith more BSN nurses experience improved patient outcomes. Accordingto American Association of College Nursing (2015), a study conductedby researchers from the University of Michigan reported that a 10%increase in the number of nurses with bachelor’s degree resulted ina 10.9% decrease in the risk of patients succumbing to their illnesswithin 30 days of admission. American Association of Colleges ofNursing (2015) also reports that another study discovered that a10-point increase in the proportion of nurses with BSN accounted foran average decrease of 2.12 deaths for every 1,000 patientshospitalized for complicated health condition. Consequently, theAmerican Association Colleges of Nursing (2015) concluded thathospitals with a higher proportion of BSN experience lowerfailure-to-rescue and mortality rates.

Baccalaureate nurses possess greater knowledge of the professionalrole of a nurse and practice better communication with otherhealthcare professionals and patients. Also, BSN nurses possessproblem-solving skills. They also depict more knowledge andunderstanding of the social, political, economic and cultural issuesthat impact the delivery of healthcare to patients (AmericanAssociation of Colleges of Nursing, 2015). According to Grand CanyonUniversity (2012), the BSN curriculum emphasizes on &quotprofessionalism,accountability, ethical decision making, effective communication, andcritical thinking.&quot This is realized through the integration ofnursing theories, liberal art constructs, Christian values, andevidence-based practice&quot (Grand Canyon University, 2012).According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (2015),BSN nurses go through a four-year curriculum that builds both theirclinical and technical skills. The four-year curriculum incorporatesthe legal, psychosocial, ethical, and evidence-based nursing. Theprogram emphasizes on critical thinking, community involvement,management, research, and leadership (The American Association ofColleges of Nursing, 2015). Consequently, apart from BSN nurseshandling more complex cases compared to ADN nurses, they can designand coordinate a comprehensive plan of nursing care to a patient forthe entire time that he/she is admitted to the hospital and afterdischarge. Regarding post-discharge nursing care, BSN nurses cansupervise and offer necessary help to families and unlicensedassistive personnel helping a patient in his/her recovery process.

Nurses play a major role in early detection of complications andhealthcare needs of patients visiting hospitals. As such, they arebetter positioned to reduce adverse outcomes such as deaths ofpatients. The competencies for ADN and BSN may be assessed in termsof professional identity, human flourishing, the spirit of inquiry,and nursing judgment. With regard to human flourishing, associatedegree nurse emphasizes on patient’s empowerment through education.On the other hand, the BSN goes past empowering the patients andinclude the community in their endeavor to improve the healthcareoutcomes for the society at large. In terms of the nursing judgment,ADN depends solely on nursing science in the provision of health careto the patient and the community. On the other hand, BSN relies onknowledge from other fields in addition to nursing science whenmaking judgments on how to handle the patient (Grand CanyonUniversity, 2012). Using skills in other fields entails workingclosely with the different healthcare professionals. Besides, ADNdiffers from BSN in terms of professional identity which involvestaking leadership positions when addressing the client`s need. Ontheir part, ADN nurses are likely to use their knowledge to improvethe patients` condition. On the other hand, BSN not only address theimmediate needs of the patients but also seek to understand itscause. This entails conducting background investigations in order toimprove the patient care.

Let’s imagine a case where a person has collapsed, but on arrival,the nurse finds that the patient has gained consciousness and isawake. In this case, an associate degree nurse will start bycollecting the patient’s vital information and assessing the extentof the injury. Most likely the ADN nurse will treat the patient`ssituation as solely a case of seizure in consideration of theinformation he/she has received upon accessing the person`scondition. On the other hand, a baccalaureate nurse responding to thesame case is likely to use his/her communication and criticalthinking skills she/he learnt in the nursing school to get acomprehensive history of the patient. Probably, the patient mayreveal that two days before the occurrence of the current situation,he/she was arrested by the police. He/she may go ahead and reportsthat prior to the arrest she had been drinking a certain amount ofalcohol every day. However, for the entire period he/she has beenunder arrest, he/she has not had his/.her daily dose of alcohol. Thismeans that unlike the ADN who could have diagnosed the patient withseizure a BSN is skilled in interrogative skills that will enablehim/her make the correct determination that the person is sufferingfrom alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

Over the recent past, various researches have shown that thereexists a close correlation between nurses level of education andpatients outcomes. Hospitals with a high proportion of nurses withBSN degree register a decrease in adverse patient’s outcomes. Thisis associated with the BSN curriculum that emphasizes on criticalthinking, research, proper communication skill, and evidence-basednursing practice.


Grand Canyon University. (2012). “College of Nursing Philosophy.”https://www.gcu.edu/documents/legacy/Nursing/Pre-Licensure-Student-Handbook.pdf

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing. (2015). “Creatinga more highly qualified nursing workforce.” Accessed on November 6,2016.http://www.aacn.nche.edu/media-relations/fact-sheets/nursing-workforce