Free «Educational Preparation» Essay
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Nurses have always played important role in restoring health and prolonging patients’ lives. In this regard, proper education is very significant in providing learners with skills and competency that is necessary for the fulfillment of requirement in nursing profession and healthcare field in general. As the new developments constantly emerge, the new discoveries are made to ensure the services delivered are of high quality and effectiveness and the health reforms are timely taken. Therefore, these changes have to cause continuous reviews of nursing courses and programs so that the training is sufficient for students to perform their duties and roles adequately and effectively when they join the workforce. To provide the adequate and appropriate education for ensuring proper care and patients’ safety, nurses may go through different programs. This paper discusses educational preparation in nursing profession by focusing mainly on associate-degree level and the baccalaureate-degree level, as well as observing how the degree influences decision-making in patient care situation.
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Associate-degree Level versus the Baccalaureate-degree Level
The basic difference between Associate-Degree Level of Nursing (ADN) and the Baccalaureate-Degree Level (BSN) is the length of the time taken to complete the program and the amount of work covered by it, whereby ADN takes 2 years 21 months and BSN takes 4 years (Nursing Licensure, n.d.). However, both programs offer the same curriculum which includes maternal and child care, pediatrics, adult health, psychiatric and community health. BSN program goes deeper and provides more courses such as communication, consulting, nursing research and nursing informatics that mainly deal with the use of technology in nursing practice.
Another difference is that BSN program provides more opportunities and in such a way enables those who undergo the program to climb leadership ladder easier and quicker due to the skills acquired. For instance, a nurse with BSN is eligible to become a nurse manager unlike those with ADN. Such difference is because BSN gives professional skills that assist one in specialty areas, while ADN equips student nurse mainly with technical skills in nursing practice. Nevertheless, most people prefer ADN because the time taken is shorter, the course is less expensive, and the salary is equivalent to the level acquired, which is good because dignity and integrity issues should be at the fore front in modern world, especially when quality service delivery is concerned. The health of patients should not be endangered by a potential nurse who wants to be employed easily and to earn money quickly (Johnston, 2009).
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BSN expands the scope of nurse practice so that they can provide care, teach, assess, think critically, and lead various practices within a particular healthcare setting. In fact, nurses with BSN can be a part of administration, or they may actively participate in administration and management of the healthcare institution unlike nurses with ADN qualification. Besides, nurses with BSN use professional approach in decision making and provision of patient care while ADN nurses provide care with technical approach. One more difference is that BSN nurses have better experience because of the amount of exposure experienced within their practice and the course of learning (McHugh & Lake, 2010). Thus, it is evident that quality services are provided to the patients when attended by more educated professionals.
Approaches to Decision Making
According to AACN (American Association of Colleges of Nursing, 2015), BSN programs enable nurses to have strong analytical and critical thinking skills that are essential in modern nursing practice for tackling issues experienced in healthcare. This will result in higher job satisfaction and better patient outcomes (American Association of Colleges of Nursing, 2015). Most of the time, many hospitals and other healthcare settings used to employ nurses with associate degree; however, this has changed, and now many hospitals have started taking those with bachelor’s degree (Nursing Licensure, n.d.).
In addition to community health taught in ADN level, BSN also focus on public health that provides deeper insight into various health issues. As a result, nurses with bachelor’s degree can treat not only individual patients, but also community and population, healthcare systems and organizations Other roles given to a BSN nurse include advocacy and staff development through teaching, mentorship, and leadership (Hooper, 2012).
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ADN nurses are play important role in healthcare settings such as community clinics, and in non-hospital context such as home care or residential homes among others. Thus, ADN can make decision but under the guidance of another health professional in the facility.
Most of the nurses with ADN are now proceeding to acquire BSN to get the competency at this level. This extra training will help them to manage various situations in healthcare sector. Some also have aspired to join leadership and management positions which is why they have gone for another level of education. Currently, there is a bill on debate aimed to encourage those already in practice with ADN to obtain BSN so that they can improve their skills and increase competency levels of nursing workforce and patient outcomes in general. The issue of increasing the level competency for nurses has been supported by Robert Wood Johnson initiative for the future of nursing (Nursing Licensure, n.d.).
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AACN is actively encouraging community colleges and employers to provide a conducive environment for those who wish to obtain a BSN through offering incentives, as well as motivates BSN nurse graduates to find employers who will value their level of education, skills, and competencies acquired (American Association of Colleges of Nursing, 2015).
Both of the discussed levels of nursing practice share some similarities and consequently lead to working as a nurse. Upon completion, all students take the same exam (NCLEX-RN), get licensed, and are considered competent to work in different healthcare setting as a registered nurse. However, more consideration should be made to obtain a bachelor’s degree in nursing since it allows to work with more demanding issues in the field of healthcare. With a bachelor’s degree, one gets higher level of commitment, acquires more leadership skills and roles, and is at the forefront of ensuring patient care (primary care) than when with associate diploma/degree in nursing.