Differences in Competencies Between Associate Degree and Baccalaureate Degree Nurses Nursing education can be confusing because there are so many ways to become a nurse. However, throughout history, nurse leaders have advocated the importance of higher education for nurses. But as nursing shortages developed, the need for more and more nurses became apparent. To help solve the nursing shortage problem, Mildred Montag developed the associate degree of nursing program (ADN) in 1952. It was designed to be completed in two years and provide a balance of general nursing education along with clinical courses. The original program designed by Mildred Montag was for associate degree nurses to work under the supervision of professional baccalaureate prepared nurses. Due to confusion, the graduates of the associate degree nursing program were allowed to sit for the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN). This NCLEX exam was the same exam given to baccalaureate degree nurses (Creasia & Friberg, 2011). Now, associate degree nurses can be found in almost every setting from hospitals to long term care facilities. However, even though associate nurses have the skills to provide adequate patient care, the advanced education of the baccalaureate degree nurse provides leadership skills, advanced critical thinking skill and improved patient outcomes (Lane & Kohlenberg, 2010). Therefore, in recent years the difference in competencies between the associate degree nurse and the baccalaureate degree nurse has been examined, resulting in a push for more nurses to obtain a bachelors degree (BSN). Associate degree nursing programs teach the technical aspect of nursing care. An associate prepared nurse can function well at the bedside. She can monitor the patient’s needs and record the outcomes of treatments. An associate prepared nurse can use critical thinking skills to determine her best course of action in most situations. But the constantly changing field of healthcare...
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Lane, S. H., & Kohlenberg, E. (2010). The future of baccalaureate degrees for nurses. Nursing Forum, 45(4), 218-227.doi:10.1111/j.1744-6198.2010.00194.x
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