Different Degree Levels in Nursing
Nursing is a wonderful, rewarding profession to enter, and it must be chosen for all the right reasons. Today many nurses are faced with a difficult decision to return to college. For those of us who wish to continue to advance our nursing career; we continue to need the educational assistance that is necessary to advance our nursing skills. With nursing there are so many paths one can obtain after achieving your RN. You just need to choose what path is right for you. Basically there are two of the most common degrees to choose from the Associate’s Degree of Nursing (ADN) or Bachelors Degree of Nursing (BSN).
Many do not realize the difference between the two. However there are many differences, but both nurses subscribe to the same nursing philosophies. With that being said, the ADN is about a two-year program while the BSN is a four year college or university. Another differences between ADN and BSN, is the ADN is 72 credits and the BSN is 125 credits. Today many nurses are faced with a tough and difficult decision. They are asking themselves what is the right choice for me? Why should I return to school? What are the benefits going to be for me after completing my degree?
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Truly, when it comes down to it only the nurse can decide and make the necessary decision. The associate degree level of nursing was developed out of a need to produce nurses in response to a shortage during and following World War II (http://nursing. adelphi. edu/about/history. php,n. dHYPERLINK “http://nursing. adelphi. edu/about/history. php,n. d. “. ). In return many students who choose nursing were leaving only after a few years, thus creating a shortage. The ADN of nursing typically focuses on clinical competencies, fundamentals and technical skill needed to care for the patients.
Also, the ADN degree promotes more task-oriented nurses, basic theory and the judgment to function at the entry level. They must also demonstrate the skills necessary in life-saving practice. It generally takes about two years at a community college and the cost for this degree is more manageable. Once the nurse proves their competencies by passing the NCLEX-RN they can obtain a state license. The benefit of having ADN is that the degree itself is a much shorter timeframe and a much less expensive to complete to become a registered nurse. In 1965, the American Nurses Association (ANA) designated the baccalaureate degree as the educational entry point into professional nursing practice” (Friberg, page 3). The Bachelor of Science (BSN) in nursing typically takes a person four years to complete at a state college or university. The expense of a four-year degree is costly for some who are trying to be sparing with their college education. The BSN requires the ability to think logically and critically in patient care settings. The curriculum places emphasis on leadership and management in the nursing setting.
Also it broadens the knowledge of patho-physiology of diseases, deals more with public issues and refines to a deeper assessment of nursing skills. One of the many benefits of having a BSN allows one to gain more experience and more responsibility. Also, allowing one to further their education in nursing by obtaining a master’s degree, nurse anesthetist, and nurse practitioner. The BSN also allows for a salary increase. It is unreasonable to think that this situation is going away anytime soon. With that being said, looking into the future today most hospitals are trying to achieve Magnet status. The nation’s Magnet hospitals, which are recognized for nursing excellence and superior patient outcomes, have moved to require all nurse managers and nurse leaders to hold a baccalaureate or graduate degree in nursing by 2013”(Rossester 2012b). One thought to this is to have nurses obtain the most knowledge possible, and the know how to think in critical situations when they arise. One of my patient care situations that I can recall is when I was working on the telemetry floor in our local hospital.
I was with a few other nurses, having their associate degree and two with their bachelor degree. Let’s call the ADN nurse A and the BSN nurse B. So, we were all around the nurse’s station waiting to give report to the next shift and one of the nursing assistants came running down the hall saying, one of the patients in room say 420 is not responding when I try to call her name. Nurse A and Nurse B both went into the room and the patient had no pulse and wasn’t breathing. Nurse B immediately started CPR and took charge in calling a Code.
The code team arrived at this time. Nurse B asked if Nurse A could take the patient’s blood sugar and hang some fluids and get the patient on the monitor. Nurse A was also well in keeping the family and the people in the hallway calm and relaxed. The patient in the end was transferred to the ICU where they can better care for the patient in this critical situation and the physician was notified. Nurse B was more knowledgeable and had the necessary leadership skills along with the advanced critical thinking skills that this situation required.
Nurse A was competent and did what was expected of the skills she had. In conclusion, I believe that having your ADN degrees is a quick way to gain the necessary knowledge and skills to enter into practice and the cost is less. The BSN allows one to prepare for management and leadership decisions. Also allowing for more critical skills and providing better career opportunities along with higher pay. As I reflect back on my education and skills and the future I recommend all nurses should receive their BSN.
http://nursing.adelphi.edu/about/history.php.(n.d.) Friberg, Creasia (2011). Conceptual Foundations: The Bridge to Professional Nursing Practice  (VitalSource Bookshelf), Retrieved August 14, 2012, from http://pageburstsls.elesevier.com/books/978-0-323-06869-7/id/B9780323068697100029_f0010. Rosseter, R. (2012b, April 2). Fact Sheet: Creating a More Highly Qualified Nursing Workforce. American Association of Colleges of Nursing. Retrieved August 14, 2012, from www.aacn.nche.edu/edia-relations/Nursing Workforce.pdf.