Differences in Competencies Between the ADN Versus the BSN Nurse Essay

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While some might argue that there’s no real difference when it comes to a nurse prepared at the associate-degree (ADN) level versus the baccalaureate-degree (BSN) level, this is actually not as accurate as some would have you believe. Some people argue that for a nurse, the most important thing is years of education under their belt, and that as long as they have a basic education, that’s all that matters. Experience is crucial to excellence in any profession, particularly in the field of medicine and professional healthcare. However, there are still some rather stark differences between a nurse with an ADN versus a BSN.

All nursing programs prepare the students to offer real care within a clinical setting. Most healthcare professionals would agree that both types of nurses are competent enough to offer care that conforms to the overall accepted standards of excellence. Many job positions focus on just hiring BSN degree holders simply because they’ve had a more rigorous level of education. “BSN programs place a greater emphasis on topics like research and informatics. They include clinical rotations in community and public health settings. A BSN typically does not get more clinical experience carrying out assessments and procedures in an acute care setting. Students will likely exit no more adept at wielding needles and tubes, but be better prepared for hospital employment nonetheless” (Nursinglicensure.org). As a result of the fact that the BSN nurse is more prepared with clinical experience, this graduate might have an easier time adjusting to employment as an actual nurse, as the high stakes and ultra fast-paced world of nursing is something that is not foreign to him/her.

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Thus, the real-life learning curve will be smaller. This is a competency that so many people overlook when making the distinction between ADN and BSN. The reason that it is overlooked is because it’s not something formally taught; rather, clinical experience/familiarity is something that is absorbed by the student.

More and more hospitals are stating in their job descriptions or opening for nurses that they prefer nurses with BSN or that the position is only open to nurses with such credentials. Magnet hospitals around the nation, which are hospitals that have major recognition for their overall excellence, their excellence in nursing and their positive patient outcomes, have made BSN degrees a priority and a requirement. These hospitals “..have moved to require all nurse managers and nurse leaders to hold a baccalaureate or graduate degree in nursing by 2013. Settings applying for Magnet designation must also show what plans are in place to achieve the IOM recommendation of having an 80% baccalaureate prepared RN workforce by 2020” (Aacnursing.org). While traditionalists might not consider this a “competency” in the real world, it is. A nursing competency can encompass how likely it is that one will be competent enough to get a job upon the completion of one’s degree program.

Essentially, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, standard BSN programs encompass all the coursework….....

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Aacnnursing.org. (n.d.). American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) > News & Information > Fact Sheets > Creating a More Highly Qualified Nursing Workforce. Retrieved from http://www.aacnnursing.org/News-Information/Fact-Sheets/Nursing-Workforce

Aacnnursing.org. (n.d.). American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) > News & Information > Fact Sheets > Impact of Education on Nursing Practice. Retrieved from http://www.aacnnursing.org/News-Information/Fact-Sheets/Impact-of-Education

Nursinglicensure.org. (n.d.). ADN vs BSN | The Difference Between the ADN and BSN. Retrieved from https://www.nursinglicensure.org/articles/adn-vs-bsn.html

Stewart, D., & Benitz, W. (2016). Umbilical Cord Care in the Newborn Infant. PEDIATRICS, 138(3), e20162149-e20162149. doi:10.1542/peds.2016-2149

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