There is a big difference in the competencies of nurses who have an Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN) and those who have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). BSN nurses are better prepared to think critically and provide quality care.
BSN nurses receive more training in critical thinking and evidence-based practice. They also learn how to better communicate with patients and families. ADN nurses may not have the same level of training in these areas.
BSN nurses are better prepared to handle complex medical situations. They can make quick decisions and know when to escalate a situation. ADN nurses may not have the same level of experience or knowledge.
In general, BSN nurses are better equipped to provide quality care. They have the skills and knowledge to handle complex situations and make quick decisions. ADN nurses may not be as prepared to provide quality care.
There are three pathways to becoming a licensed nurse, and two of them are at the university level. Both of these programs give enough information for the graduate to learn and pass the NCLEX-RN exam. However, researchers have found that there are significant distinctions between both programs that influence nursing care and patient outcomes.
These differences are important to understand when making a decision on which program to enter, and the route that will best fit one’s individual needs.
The first difference is in the time required to complete each program. The average Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) takes two to three years to complete, while the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) takes four years. In some cases, it is possible to complete an ADN in as little as 18 months through accelerated programs.
Completing an ADN in a shorter amount of time may seem like an attractive option; however, research suggests that taking the extra time to complete a BSN provides nurses with better critical thinking skills and abilities (AACN, 2008). These better critical thinking skills have been linked with improved patient outcomes, including decreased mortality rates (Aiken, et. al, 2002).
The second difference is in the content of the curriculum. Both ADN and BSN programs provide basic nursing knowledge; however, BSN programs build on this foundation by providing additional coursework in areas such as leadership, research, and community health.
This extra coursework gives nurses a better understanding of the healthcare system as a whole and how their role fits into it. Additionally, BSN programs typically require more general education courses than ADN programs. These general education courses provide nurses with a well-rounded education that can help them better understand and relate to their patients.
The third difference is in the clinical experiences required. Most ADN programs require between 500 and 600 clinical hours, while most BSN programs require between 800 and 1,000 clinical hours. The extra clinical hours required for a BSN provide nurses with additional opportunities to develop their skills and gain hands-on experience.
Choosing which program is right for you depends on many factors, including your career goals, time commitment, and financial situation. However, it is important to keep in mind that the differences between ADN and BSN programs can have a significant impact on your nursing career.
Baccalaureate programs in nursing (BSN) educate graduates who are qualified to tackle beginning leadership responsibilities in a variety of healthcare settings. According to Conceptual Foundations: The Bridge to Professional Nursing Practice, 5th Edition, “to enable nurses for this multidisciplinary function, several elements are required for all baccalaureate degrees.”
These include a broad liberal education, in-depth study of professional nursing, and opportunities to develop clinical competence” (p. 5). The Institute of Medicine (IOM) report on the Future of Nursing recommends that 80% of nurses should have a BSN by 2020 (“The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health”).
There are many differences between associate degree nursing (ADN) and baccalaureate nursing programs. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) lists these differences on their website: “BSN programs provide a more in-depth study of the liberal arts and sciences than do ADN programs. As a result, BSN graduates possess greater depth and breadth of knowledge than do their ADN counterparts.
Additionally, BSN programs prepare nurses to be better critical thinkers and problem-solvers than those who have only completed ADN programs.
BSN programs also provide opportunities for students to gain clinical experience in a variety of settings and with various populations. This clinical experiences is essential for the development of nursing competencies” (“BSN vs ADN: Which Nursing Degree Should You Get?”).
The AACN also reports that research has shown that “patients of nurses with baccalaureate degrees have lower mortality rates, fewer readmissions, and shorter lengths of stay than patients of nurses with associate degrees” (“BSN vs ADN: Which Nursing Degree Should You Get?”).
In order to meet the IOM recommendations and provide the best care possible to patients, it is essential that nurses obtain a BSN. The difference in competencies between ADN and BSN nurses is significant, and these competencies are essential to providing high-quality patient care.
The 5th edition of Conceptual Foundations: The Bridge to Professional Nursing Practice notes that associate nursing (ADN) programs prepare technical bedside nurses for secondary care settings such as community hospitals and long-term health facilities. Also, the initial designer of the ADN program intended that nurses with associate degrees would work under the direction of registered professional nurses who were prepared at the baccalaureate level. (Creasia & Friberg, 2011, p. 26)
The National League for Nursing (2011) defines critical thinking as “the process of purposeful, self-regulatory judgment. The application of critical thinking to the nursing process is widely accepted as the fundamental component of professional nursing.” (p. 4)
A study done by Melnyk and Fineout-Overholt (2005) shows that “level of education is significantly associated with nurses’ self-reported use of evidencebased practice (EBP).” (as cited in Creasia & Friberg, 2011, p. 538) The research concludes that baccalaureate prepared nurses are more likely to use EBP than nurses with lower levels of education.
According to the AACN (2011), “the baccalaureate degree in nursing is the minimum level of preparation for entry into professional nursing practice.” (p. 1) The AACN also states that the BSN program should be designed to provide a broad liberal education as well as specific professional nursing knowledge and skills. The Institute of Medicine (IOM) report on the Future of Nursing recommends that 80% of nurses should have a BSN by 2020. (AACN, 2011, p. 1)
The American Nurses Association (ANA) Standards of Practice for Nursing state that nurses at all levels must be able to “use information and other resources to support the provision of evidence-based practice.” (as cited in Creasia & Friberg, 2011, p. 538) In order to provide evidence-based care, nurses must be able to access and understand research findings. The ability to read and understand research articles is a critical competency for all nurses.