A nurse, working at the associates degree
level or baccalaureate degree level is expected and required to adhere to this
definition.  A nurse’s job whether they
are prepared at the associates or baccalaureate level includes basic nursing
care, documenting patient responses, their medical history, being a support
system for the patient and family, educate patients about the disease process
and working as a team with doctors to provide the best possible care. This is
the standard of care required at every level.

According to Nursinglink.monster.com
(2017). “The main difference between Bachelors of Science in Nursing (BSN) and
Associates Degree of Nursing (ADN) is the length of time and amount of credits
required to complete the program. Both degrees lead to gaining your license and
qualifies you as a nurse.  ADN takes 18 –
24 months to complete while BSN typically takes 4 years, except in accelerated
programs for those already holding a bachelor’s degree. (NursingLink 2017).

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However,
there are other significant differences between the associates and baccalaureate
degree, in addition to the standard of care that nurses are expected to
provide, a nurse with a bachelor’s degree can advance to leadership positions
in nurse management. The course requirement for bachelors includes nursing
theory, nursing research and nursing information, which means more advanced
education and higher earning potential in highly specialized areas of nursing. A
BSN nurse can become a public health nurse or nurse educator, preparing the
next generation of Licensed Practical Nurses and Associates Degree Nurses.

With ADN, you can go straight to the job
market, but eventually you would want to earn the higher academic credential.  According to an article by American Sentinel,
the ADN nurse may not be “adequately prepared for the kind of nursing
leadership roles that will be needed in the 21st century.” American
Sentinel (2014). The article refers to a study done by nurse researcher Linda
Aiken which implies that the nurse prepared at the BSN level results in lower
patient mortality rates.  This study further
suggests that a nurse with a BSN makes safer clinical judgement and respond to
a health care system that is constantly changing and advancing in complexities
of care. The article did not say that ADN nurses are not competent in their jobs,
but it does suggest that the lower patient mortality outcomes are found with
the BSN nurses.

How
Does Nursing Care or Approaches to Decision-Making Differ Among Educational
Preparation of the Nurses: BSN vs Diploma or ADN Degree

In September of this year, I read an
article from the Huffington Post that reported about “a navy nurse and her
friend made a newborn dance to rap music and called these newborns “mini
satans.” The HuffPost (2017). The article states that the nurse in question is
a recent graduate, “a naval corpsman” with obvious limited knowledge as to the
proper care of a newborn and that as a part of the care team, they are
responsible for providing, protecting, and preventing injury to those in their
care.  In my opinion, a more highly
trained nurse would have used better clinical judgement and know that newborns
are fragile, and this type of action could cause permanent harm to these
patients among other things.

Another
incident I heard about was of the nurse that discovered the heart murmur of
Jimmy Kimmel’s son, William. Her efforts were heroic but also an expected part
of being a competent nurse.  If the nurse
had not done a proper head to toe assessment of the newborn, William’s outcome
could have been much different and a lot less celebratory. These are the
expectation of nurses and with higher level of education, results are lower
mortality rates and better patient outcomes. 

Conclusion

Nurses prepared at any level should have
the basic competency required for nursing care but a nurse at the BSN level
will have more variety of job offers, especially in the hospital setting. They
may choose from more leadership roles like public health or become a nurse
educator. They are considered the “preferred education level of employers
seeking nurses and they have a higher earning potential.” The Sentinel Watch
(2017). “Baccalaureate nursing practice incorporates the roles of assessing,
critical thinking, communicating, providing care, teaching and leading.” Grand
Canyon University (2016).  While earning
your ADN, you’ll learn critical nursing skills like how to care for a patient, clinical
decision making and the confidence in your skills to provide holistic care but
the greater opportunity for higher earning potential comes to those more
qualified for specialized or managerial roles available further down the career
path which is in favor of nurse with her/his Baccalaureate Degree.