The term nurse refers to an individual, who is trained and educated formally in caring for the infirm and the sick. The nurse coordinates with other health care professionals. Moreover, he is accountable for the safety, treatment, and recovery of the sick. The sick and infirm require close observation, as well as social, spiritual, emotional, and physical care. This paper aims at elaborating the differences in the competencies of nurses trained at the Baccalaureate and Associate-Degree levels of nursing. Furthermore, it will discuss a patient care instance, where the nursing approaches or care may vary because of a nurse’s educational preparation.
Differences in Competencies between Nurses Prepared at the Associate-Degree Level (ADN) versus the Baccalaureate-Degree Level (BSN) in Nursing
During the 1990s, there was a nursing shortage, which motivated the nursing body to categorize work and educational needs. This was aimed at attracting novel jobs. In 1993, the nursing bodies categorized nursing competencies, which included the BSN and associate degree levels. Through the various academic choices, different duties, and nursing certification requirements, the nursing bodies aimed at minimizing nursing shortages, and increasing job growth and work efficiency (White, Coyne & Patel, 2001).
After going through NCLEX successfully, BSN and ADN professionals acquire basic nursing competencies. These include drug and intravenous administration, physical assessment, blood sampling, and utilization of medical equipment. Moreover, they acquire the skills for life-saving practice. These include wound care, oxygen delivery, drains, airway management, and cardiac monitoring.
BSN professionals, in addition to the basic skills, possess solid communication skills. These are essential for addressing the bigger community and the patient’s family. BSN professionals can manage the experience of the patient from the time he is admitted, until discharge. This occurs in an extremely structured environment, where there is a requirement for long-term and direct communication with the patient. A professional nurse with a BSN is adequately equipped for broader roles and in a wide array of healthcare facets (Johnson, 1988). This is in addition to the worldwide knowledge of how the medical system functions, and the various criteria for application.
Therefore, a BSN nurse professional is extremely efficient in everyday patient care, role delegation, secure patient discharge, sovereign decision making, as well as a wide range of other aspects, which lead to better and quality health care. Nurses, who are trained at the graduate and baccalaureate degree levels, are usually associated with less mortality rate, positive outcomes, and scarcer medication errors.
BSN focuses on various aspects, with a keen emphasis on leadership and practice, which is evidence-based. Other courses that are usually offered include community/ public health, critical thinking, statistics, and research. There are additional courses, which prepare the BSN nurses for advanced nursing degrees. The associate degree nurses focus more on the technical aspects. This enables them to offer direct care, particularly in acute settings. These nurses possess the skills and knowledge to offer care to patients and restore health after medical treatment.
It is worth emphasizing that nurses’ education is an unending practice, and the ever-changing nursing environment calls for excellent care (Goode et al, 2001). Baccalaureate degree professionals possess more prestigious training and degrees in a worldwide health care aspect. This is exceptionally crucial in the health care environment, which is transforming radically.
Patient Care Situation
The decision-making approach and nursing care vary depending on a nurse’s educational preparation (ADN degree or diploma versus BSN). Suppose a university student is admitted to the emergency ward with Hepatitis A. The student has been on the wrong medication for some period. During the first time, there was a wrong diagnosis for malaria. The student was put on medication but got worse. On returning to another hospital, other tests were made and the doctor concluded he had brucellosis. This meant that the doctor had to change his medication. After taking the brucellosis medication for one day, the student got worse. He had to be taken to hospital in an ambulance.
Considering the difficult moments that the student had gone through, the decision-making approaches and nursing care used on the student may differ depending on the nurse’s educational preparation. A BSN professional would care for the student better, compared to ADN (White, Coyne & Patel, 2001).
A BSN professional has more skills for caring for such a patient comprehensively. Considering that this is an emergency, a BSN would be efficient in delegating roles, making decisions independently, ensuring quality healthcare, communicating effectively with those close to the patient, and establishing his history. On the other hand, an ADN is not adequately trained and does not possess the diverse skills required for such a scenario.
BSN professionals possess immense leadership skills. This implies that in the scenario discussed, a BSN professional will be in a better position to guide and coordinate the healthcare team involved in the care of the patient. Coordination of the team results in quality and timely healthcare. A BSN professional also possesses the skills to diagnose the patient better and identify the underlying factors.
Goode, C. J., Pinkerton, S., McCausland, M. P., Southard, P., Graham, R., & Krsek, C. (2001). Documenting chief nursing officers’ preference for BSN-prepared nurses. Journal of Nursing Administration, 31(2), 55-59.
Johnson, J. H. (1988). Differences in the performances of baccalaureate, associate degree, and diploma nurses: A meta‐analysis. Research in nursing & health, 11(3), 183-197.
White, K. R., Coyne, P. J., & Patel, U. B. (2001). Are Nurses Adequately Prepared for End‐of‐Life Care?. Journal of Nursing Scholarship, 33(2), 147-151.