The National Advisory Council on Nurse Education and Practice (NACNEP), policy advisors to Congress and the Secretary for Health and Human Services on nursing issues, has urged that at least two-thirds of the nurse workforce hold baccalaureate or higher degrees in nursing by 2010. Baccalaureate Nursing Program
Baccalaureate nursing programs encompass all of the course work taught in associate degree and diploma programs plus a more in-depth treatment of the physical and social sciences, nursing research, public and community health, nursing management, and the humanities.
The additional course work enhances the student’s professional development, prepares the new nurse for a broader scope of practice, and provides the nurse with a better understanding of the cultural, political, economic, and social issues that affect patients and influence health care delivery.
There are distinct differences between the 72 ADN credits and 125 BSN credits required in each of the nursing programs’ curriculum. The baccalaureate curriculum has a different focus, emphasizing evidenced-based clinical practice and leadership. Additional courses are offered in the baccalaureate curriculum, such as research, statistics, critical thinking, and public health/community health.
In addition, the additional units prepare the baccalaureate nurse to pursue graduate study, leading to an advanced degree in nursing.
Baccalaureate nursing programs encompass all of the course work taught in associate degree and diploma programs plus a more in-depth treatment of the physical and social sciences, nursing research, public and community health, nursing management, and the humanities. The additional course work enhances the student’s professional development, prepares the new nurse for a broader scope of practice, and provides the nurse with a better understanding of the cultural, political, economic, and social issues that affect patients and influence health care delivery. Associate Nursing Program
On the other hand, students entering associate degree nursing programs are focused on learning the technical aspects of nursing appropriate to providing direct care to patients and families, mostly in acute care settings. The associate degree nursing students learn the knowledge and skills required to care for individuals and families during illness and restoration after medical treatment, and usually practice a more restricted level of nursing care. The knowledge and nursing competencies are limited to direct hands-on patient care in the hospitals and community health facilities.
The associate degree nursing programs have fewer units and teach only the basics of leadership needed for RN supervision of other health providers. The associate degree nursing programs do not prepare the nurses for graduate study. One might think, “Well I want to be a bedside nurse and not a manager. ” The BSN nurse can and does provide excellent direct patient care. In fact research shows they use evidenced-based practice for better patient outcome, another difference in the ADN vs.
BSN level of education. Numerous research studies have demonstrated that the ADN and BSN nurses are not different in skill competency when they graduate, but within a year, the BSN nurses show greater critical thinking skills, better problem solving, and the development of clinical judgment; three skills of increasing importance for the increase in acuity of patients in hospitals and other health care settings. Today, many hospitals are applying for the ANA Magnet status and prefer to employ BSN graduates.
They encourage their own staff to go back to school for their BSN degree or they give preference in hiring to new BSN graduates. Many hospitals will pay the BSN graduate more, either to start, or through more frequent increases in his/her salary. In conclusion, the answer to the question, “What is the difference between an ADN and BSN nurse? ” is to first answer the question, “What do you want to do as a nurse, not just upon graduation or in two years but five and ten years from now? ” Think of a long term goal, your age, your interests and other personal facts.
NACNEP found that nursing’s role calls for RNs to manage care along a continuum, to work as peers in interdisciplinary teams, and to integrate clinical expertise with knowledge of community resources. The increased complexity of the scope of practice for RNs requires a workforce that has the capacity to adapt to change. It requires critical thinking and problem solving skills; a sound foundation in a broad range of basic sciences; knowledge of behavioral, social and management sciences; and the ability to analyze and communicate data.
Among the three types of entry-level nursing education programs, NACNEP found that baccalaureate education with its broader and stronger scientific curriculum best fulfills these requirements and provides a sound foundation for addressing the complex health care needs of today in a variety of nursing positions. Baccalaureate education provides a base from which nurses move into graduate education and advanced nursing roles.