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Associates Degree of Nursing Versus Bachelors Degree of Nursing: the Road to an Informed Decision

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Associates Degree of Nursing Versus Bachelors Degree of Nursing:
The Road to an Informed Decision
John Yerger
Grand Canyon University: NRS-430V
November 3, 2012

Associates Degree of Nursing versus Bachelors Degree of Nursing: The Road to an Informed Decision When one finds a fork in the road one must look at all options before making an informed decision. When assessing the options to become a registered nurse (RN) what presents itself is just that, a fork in the road. On one side of the road, lies the Associates Degree of Nursing (ADN) and on the other side the Bachelors Degree of Nursing (BSN). Let one examine all aspects that are required for obtaining either degree to make an informed decision. Basic Considerations When one is considering the nursing profession as a career, some important aspects that must be evaluated include one’s family situation (single versus married), future job requirements (how many hours and shifts are needed per week to fulfill the job requirements), and financial circumstances (cost of continuing education). Other topics that must be taken into account include any aspirations to eventually achieve any position in leadership or management and the education that is required to achieve that position. Education and Training When considering the educational requirement, one must first understand the ADN program is a two to three year course that centers primarily on the technical side of nursing (Miller, 2007, p. 9) such as illness and the treatment of illness as well as requiring fewer credit hours (70-72) (Hawkins, 2000, p. 26). However, these programs do have their drawbacks. Most students who graduate from an ADN program have had fewer classes in management, and as a result are either overlooked at promotion time, or lack the education needed for the job if they are awarded it (Hawkins, 2000, p. 26). Now, in regards to the other side of the road, one needs to reflect on the BSN program. The BSN side of the road appears to have many benefits including more curricular classes that promote leadership, theory, management, and the additional education to provide “nursing beyond direct care of the individual to include the care of families, groups, and communities” (Hawkins, 2000, p. 24). Students who enroll in a BSN degree program are moreover exposed to many different arenas within the healthcare field such as more "clinical lab experience” (The University of Kansas Undergraduate Advising Center). Similarly, according to (TCNJ 2012) graduates of BSN programs are also able to “Integrate research findings and nursing theory in [the] decision making in professional nursing practice.” However, as with the ADN program, there are drawbacks to this side of the road as well. The BSN program requires more credit hours (120-130) and because of this requirement could present itself as a financial burden. (Hawkins, 2000, p.26). Study of Competency and the Effect on Patient Outcomes One may look at the above information, and say to themselves, the BSN program obviously has the impression of being the superior program and nurses who possess a BSN degree are superior nurses; however, there is another perspective to observe when comparing these two programs. There has recently been a push by the American Nurses Association and other nationally known organizations to make the BSN degree the minimum education requisite to sit for the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN®). This push has come due to studies showing that hospitals that have a majority of their staff at the BSN degree level have a lower mortality rate (Rosseter, 2012, p. 2). The American Association of Colleges of Nursing and other national nursing associations have said their position is in support of making a BSN degree the entry point to becoming an RN (Rosseter, 2012, p. 3). To the contrary, and conversely, there have been many studies that have shown little difference in competencies between ADN and BSN prepared students (Miller, 2007, p. iii). Patient Scenario For example, take a look into the following scenario. There is a patient that is unconscious and unresponsive in the intensive care unit (ICU). The ADN prepared nurse is going to focus on the possibilities and potential reasons as to why the patient is unconscious as well as attempt to provide a resolution in regards to any causes that may be resolved. As previously stated, the decision of treatment is based on the ADN trained nurse’s background of concentrating on illness, and the treatment of illness (Hawkins, 2000, p. 22). The BSN prepared nurse; however, if given the same set of circumstances will have a different approach. The BSN prepared nurse will not only concentrate on the illness, and any reasons the patient may be there, but in addition to this, will also attempt to console the family as well. As formerly stated by (Hawkins, 2000, p.24) this decision is based on the BSN trained nurse’s educational background of having classes that allowed the BSN prepared nurse to provide care not only to the patient, but also to the patient’s family. In summary, there are vast differences in the ADN and BSN degree programs. Each degree has many advantages and many disadvantages that one must mull over before embarking on the noble journey to becoming an RN. Furthermore, there are many other points to ponder related to personal circumstances that must be thoroughly thought through before making a decision on which side of the road one will follow.

BSN Level Objectives. (2002, October 5). In The College of New Jersey Department of Nursing. Retrieved November 1, 2012, from
Hawkins, P. L. (2000). ENTRY LEVEL COMPETENCE OF NURSES BY TYPE OF PROGRAM (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved November 1, 2012, from
Miller, C. D. (2007). A Comparison of Skill Performance of the ADN and BSN Prepared Nurse at Three and Four Year Post-Graduate Level. Retrieved November 1, 2012, from
Rosseter, R. J. (2012, October 24). Creating a More Highly Qualified Nursing Workforce. In American Association. Retrieved November 1, 2012, from
Undergraduate Advising Center. (2012). In The University of Kansas. Retrieved November 1, 2012, from…...

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