The College of Nursing and Health Care Professions faculty is tasked with the responsibility of ensuring that nurses are educated to prepare them adequately as they give their services to the community (Creasia, 2015). Education is meant to train and add knowledge to the nurses to enable them provide excellent care to patients. Universities and colleges providing nursing courses have heavily invested in ensuring that nurses have access to the required resources necessary for a successful completion of the nursing course (Creasia, 2015). This is meant to increase the competence of the nurses. The AACN has provided guidelines for the nursing practice curriculum, which also includes the advanced nursing practice. These guidelines provide the curriculum structure for the master’s nursing program, which provides a platform to the nursing students to respond to the changing and complex nursing needs through a creative decision-making process (Creasia, 2015).
The Differences in Competencies between Nurses Prepared At the Associate-Degree Level versus the Baccalaureate-Degree Level
Due to the growth and development in the nursing field, which is attributed to the changing healthcare needs, this has raised the job requirements for nurses with nurses with a baccalaureate degree with an increased advantage than nurses with associate degree levels (Blegen et al., 2013). Practicing nurses have a diploma, associated degree, baccalaureate, or a Master’s degree due to the different education levels provided across the world. Although the education level and training may enable the nurses to access jobs in the nursing profession, their roles and responsibilities are different based on the level of training acquired (Blegen et al., 2013). The difference in competencies between nurses prepared at the associate degree level and nurses prepared at a baccalaureate degree level is mainly based on the quality of training and the duration of the training program (Blegen et al., 2013).
The baccalaureate degree level requires that nurse students spent more time in training compared to the associate degree level. This difference in the quality of training and the duration of the training has an impact on the competence of the nurse students (World Health Organization, 2016). This will also affect the approaches of patient management used by the nurses in addressing similar situations, which will impact the patient outcomes. Nurses prepared at an associate degree levels use a short time in acquiring their degrees while nurses prepared at a baccalaureate degree levels spend more time on their training (World Health Organization, 2016). The time spend in training has an impact on the competence of the nurses as this determines the understanding level and how students are able to address certain situations (World Health Organization, 2016).
Although nurse students of the two degree levels take the same NCLEX exam, their knowledge and skills are different as the NCLEX exam only focuses on the basic aspects of training (World Health Organization, 2016). This, however, does not focus on the thinking process, which is important for nursing students in performing their roles and duties successfully. Due to this, there is much, which is not tested during the exam, which may include addressing similar situations, which may require a critical decision-making process (World Health Organization, 2016). This strategic thinking process is important due to the changing complexity in the nursing practice, which requires nurses to apply problem-solving skills, which are important in addressing certain situations. Nurses with a baccalaureate degree are better prepared to address these situations compared to nurses with associate degree levels (World Health Organization, 2016).
Research has also indicated that low mortality rates, increased positive outcomes, and reduced medical errors being associated with nurses prepared at the baccalaureate level (American Nurses Association, 2016). An associate degree only focuses on the basic and technical skills required for practicing nurses by building a foundation of the nursing profession, which include providing care to patients in different settings (American Nurses Association, 2016). However, the baccalaureate degree goes beyond this training and instills more advanced skills than the basic and technical nursing skills. This brings the difference in the competency levels between nurses prepared at a baccalaureate degree level and nurses prepared at an associate degree level (American Nurses Association, 2016).
A Patient Care Situation in Which You Describe How Nursing Care or Approaches to Decision-Making May Differ Based Upon the Educational Preparation of the Nurse (BSN versus A Diploma or ADN Degree)
An example of a patient care situation in which the decision-making process may differ based on the educational preparation of the nurse may include managing a patient in labor where there are complications prior to the delivery of the unborn baby (Blegen et al., 2013). One of the complications may include elevated blood pressure levels where the patient has been able to manage using a proper diet and exercise due to the negative impact that medications may have on the patient (Blegen et al., 2013). Due to the timing of the pregnancy, this cannot be applied and a nurse prepared at an associate degree may proceed to prescribe medications to the patient to manage the condition. However, a nurse prepared with a BSN may use his/her acquired knowledge to determine the best alternative besides medication, which may negatively harm the mother and the unborn baby (Blegen et al., 2013).
The basic training on addressing a situation would be to administer medication, which the ADN nurse has been trained to (American Nurses Association, 2016). The ADN nurse will perform tests where based on the results he/she may proceed to administer medications to lower the blood level since this is what he/she has been taught (American Nurses Association, 2016). Due to the current analysis of the situation, it is important for the nurse to consider other alternatives, which may not endanger the life of the mother as well as the child. The outcome based on the BSN nurse’s decisions may be positive compared to the ADN nurse, which may have a negative result (American Nurses Association, 2016).
American Nurses Association. (2016). Nursing: Scope and standards of practice. Silver Spring, Maryland. American Nurses Association.
Blegen, M.A., Goode, C.J., Park, S.H., Vaughn, T. ; Spetz, J. (2013). Baccalaureate education in nursing and patient outcomes. Journal of Nursing Administration, 43(2), 89-94.
Creasia, J. L. (2015). Conceptual foundations – the bridge to professional nursing practice. St. Louis, Mo.: Elsevier/Mosby.
World Health Organization. (2016). Nurse educator core competencies. Geneva: World Health Organization.