Importance of Associate-Degree in Nursing

Associate-degree level versus the Baccalaureate-degree level in Nursing Nurses are an imperative part of the health care team. Working concurrently with doctors, nurses ensure that patients obtain the highest quality of care and execute many of the routine functions of patient treatment. Associate degree nursing (ADN) education developed from Mildred Montag’s research and differentiated practice vision in 1952. From the first set of graduates, Montag’s differentiated practice vision did not take hold. Lack of differentiation of nurses’ role and functions in practice based on education preparation continues today (Mathias, 2009).

An Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) emphases on the technical standpoints of nursing, rather than the theoretical and academic aspects of nursing usually covered in a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program. ADN students will have to accomplish some fundamental prerequisites before taking nursing curriculum, such as courses in writing, social science, history, etc. Nursing-specific module will likely enfold such topics as anatomy and physiology, chemistry, biology, family health, pediatric and geriatric medicine, pharmacology, psychology and mental health.

State Boards of Nursing in each state regulate which programs are customary for that state. Upon achievement of a state certified curriculum of study, the nursing candidate will need to pass the NCLEX, or the National Council Licensure Examination. Fortuitously, most of the two-year courses for an ADN are geared en route for helping graduates to pass the NCLEX. With the existing high exigency for nurses, employment for someone with an associate degree in nursing and a bona fide nursing license is virtually guaranteed.

The nurse may also choose to work in a specialized medical field, such as pediatrics, geriatrics, mental health, emergency care, and cardiac care. After having passed the NCLEX, a nurse often can easily move from state to state, because it is a national licensing exam, even though not all states recognize the licenses of other states (meaning a nurse may need to fulfill additional requirements to obtain a license in a particular state). A nurse with an ADN may also opt to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), which in many hospitals will succeed the individual for management positions.

Many hospitals offer courses or financial sustenance for RN-to-BSN coursework. Currently, nurses with three different educational preparations—the diploma, associate degree, and baccalaureate degree—earn the title RN after successful completion of the same licensure examination. Lack of differentiated nursing practice by education allows multiple roles to exist under the licensure and title of RN. Differentiated practice has been defined as the structuring of roles and functions of the RN by education, experience, and competence (Mathias, 2009).

To ensure the furthermost vocation flexibility, most prospective nurses obtain a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree. To receive the BSN degree, a student is required to graduate from a school that is licensed by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. Once a student has acknowledged the BSN, he is suitable to register for and take the National Council of Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses. This exam gives BSN nurses authority to practice in a health care setting. The BSN degree allows nurses to obtain employment in specialized positions, such as the operating room or maternity ward.

Also, positions that encompass teaching, research, consulting or administrative onuses will entail a BSN. Nursing is facing what may be referred to as the “perfect storm”. A call for health care reform has collided with a call from the Institute of Medicine (IOM) to increase the numbers of baccalaureate, master’s, and doctorally prepared nurses practicing today. Health care reform requires nurses to broaden their roles in primary care and in care coordination, informatics, and population health.

These expanded roles ultimately require nurses to have additional education. In addition, the IOM Future of Nursing report recommends that 80% of nurses hold a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) by 2020. To prepare nurses to meet both recommendations and to practice in the future health care, nurse educators must rethink old paradigms and create new educational strategies. A major challenge ahead for nursing education is to increase the baccalaureate nursing workforce through many creative, nontraditional education pathways (Sportsman & Allen, 2011).

Differentiation of graduate competencies among the entry-level educational programs—diploma, ADN, and baccalaureate degree in nursing (BSN)—may exist, but differentiation of nursing practice among entry-level-prepared RNs does not. Numerous studies between 1990 and 1999 concerning differentiation of entry-level RN practice reported positive and beneficial outcomes such as increased patient satisfaction, efficient and effective utilization of scarce nursing resources, empowered decision making, and preparation of graduates for a more specified role (Mathias, 2009).

References Mathias, A. D. (2009). The intersection of the history of associate degree nursing and “BSN in 10”: Three visible paths. Teaching and Learning in Nursing, 5(1):39-43(539-43). http://dx. doi. org/doi:10. 1016/j. teln. 2009. 08. 006 Sportsman, S. , & Allen, P. (2011). Transitioning associate degree in nursing students to the Bachelor of Science in nursing and beyond: A mandate for academic partnerships. Journal Of Professional Nursing, 27(6), e20-e27. http://dx. doi. org/10. 1016/j. profnurs. 2011. 08. 004.

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