The evolution of nursing practice began with improvements in healthcare, but real progress was achieved after nursing was recognized as a prestigious profession, rather than gender-specific trade. Modern nursing practice is a result of numerous obstacles humanity encountered in the past century, ranging from wars to technogenic disasters to pandemics. This essay discusses contemporary nursing practice, its history, and specifics.
Main changes in nursing practices happened after World War II when hospitals switched from aiming to serve as many patients as they can at the same time to a more individualistic approach. The team nursing model was implemented in the 1960s, and it put the patient into the center of care. The medical industry has recognized nursing as a viable academic path to follow. The cooperation between nurses and doctors was transformed; nowadays, it is more of a partnership rather than servitude. Several nursing care models based on collaboration between medical personnel and patients emerged, for example, the team nursing model of care that is still applied in many modern hospitals.
The approach of treating the individual has shifted from result-centered to person-centered. Instead of focusing solely on a patient’s health issues, nurses and doctors forge a relationship with a person they treat. This method secures more humane interactions, and as patients have a feeling that they are respected, their trust in the healthcare system strengthens. Moreover, patients became not sole receivers of care, but also active participants in their healing process. This model appears more comforting for patients and improves the quality of health care.
The nurse’s competence implies the level of knowledge, attitude, and judgment of a nurse. Nurses with different levels of education have varied expertise, and while their roles overlap, they differ based on one’s skills. Many hospitals set positions that require nurses with a bachelor’s degree only. Although the medical aspect of education between associate and baccalaureate educations is similar, BSN nurses receive more knowledge in leadership, management, critical thinking, and other social sciences.
Therefore, nurses with a bachelor’s degree have more opportunities for career growth. Studies by the American Sentinel University show that better-educated nurses make fewer mistakes on the job and lower chances of transmitting hospital-acquired infections among patients, which leads to lower mortality rates overall. This does not mean that ADN nurses are not needed, but the progress in medical care accumulates more knowledge every year, which raises the skill requirements on nurses.
A patient care situation is an interaction between medical personnel and patients that aims to improve patients’ well-being. It is important to note that both ADN and BSN-prepared nurses are considered competent in providing nursing care. The differences consist mostly of the decision-making aspect of caretaking. An ADN nurse can not make statements on patients’ health changes, adjust patients’ medications or assigned procedures, and especially make a diagnosis without consulting a physician. BSN-educated nurses, however, are competent in assessing patients’ health status. In other words, both BSN and ADN nurses know how to provide adequate care for a patient, but BSN nurses have a deeper understanding of the situation.
The extent of competence of a nurse is crucial in applying evidence-based practice to nursing care. The much shorter ADN study program is unable to address many aspects of evidence-based practice. BSN nurses, during their academic preparation, receive more substantial volumes of information on various medical problems, which allows them to compare evidence of their current cases with the ones they have studied before. BSN nurses show higher levels of critical thinking abilities, therefore, they can adapt their knowledge into practice in a more efficient way.
The ever-increasing complexity of nursing care requires knowledge of past cases to obtain better evidence on patients’ health outcomes, and BSN nurses can apply this evidence in their decision-making. Social skills acquired by RN-BSN nurses from their education provide better insight not only into the past but also into the present state of their patients. The integration of patients’ values, beliefs, and circumstances into the healing process improves patients’ satisfaction and outcomes.
Modern widespread nursing care models include several factors that lead to safer and more effective treatment. This is where the leadership skills of BSN nurses allow them to take not only the role of care provider but also a manager for other medical staff. In the primary nursing model, while one registered nurse is assigned to take responsibility for a patient during their stay, his/her assistant nurses work as a team to provide the best patient care possible. Their collaboration reduces the burden on one person while allowing the registered nurse to have a complete picture of patient’s health status.
The second nursing model of care is team nursing, where a group of medical staff with varied skills, degrees of education, and specializations work together to provide care to one patient. This approach reduces nurses’ stress and spreads responsibility, as well as allows less experienced nurses to focus on improving their skills. In conclusion, there is no doubt that BSN nurses will only continue to be highly sought-after, but this does not mean that ADN nurses do not have their value.