Associate versus Baccalaureate Nurses
Just like in the case of clinicians and other medical practitioners, education in the field of nursing plays an important role in transforming individual experiences and levels of expertise, especially in relation to providing patients’ care services. Contemporary issues in the field of nursing require precise and sufficient skill impartment in order to meet the rising health needs for more effective medical services (Aiken, Cimiotti, Sloane, Smith, Flynn & Neff, 2011). The discussions raised in this paper focuses on the fundamental differences between associate degree nurses and Baccalaureate degree nurses. The case scenario mentioned in this paper with help us understand the differences in approaches, roles, experiences and skills used during clinical-decision making under each nursing practice.
Associate Degree Nurses versus Baccalaureate Degree Nurses
Associate degree nurses are categorized as those nurses with between two to three years of training, particularly at a community college nursing and after the graduate level, the associate degree nurse is allowed to take a Licensure Examination in order to become a fully accredited nurse (a registered nurse) (Kutney-Lee, Sloane & Aiken, 2013). The associate degree nursing program is offered with an aim of increasing the number of nurses in different healthcare centers. The success of the program is measured based on the levels of nursing skills imparted in clinicians and the rate at which graduate pass their Licensure Examinations.
On the other hand, Baccalaureate Degree Nurses are nurses with between four to five years of training in the field of nursing. As opposed to an associate degree nurse, a baccalaureate degree nurse must fulfil three distinct stages before becoming a registered nurse. For a Baccalaureate nurse, going through a two-year general education and a 3 year nursing program is necessary. After the 3 year nursing program, the graduate of this nursing program must take licensure examination with the examination council before becoming fully registered as a practicing nurse.
It is true that there are marked differences between the two nursing programs with specific attachment on the length of study, skills and experiences a person obtains after each program (Manojlovich, Sidani, Covell & Antonakos, 2011). However, the two nursing programs share certain characteristics in common and this makes their application in the field of nursing, especially with reference to decision making highly vital. The understanding of these two courses is encrypted in their ability to improve students’ professional growth and also prepare nursing students for a wider scope of operation. From the theoretical perspectives, the aspects taught in class allow nurses to have insight into the social, cultural, and religious issues attached to patients’ care. The two programs are therefore important at every stage of patient’s development since they provide a better understanding of the patient’s environment and how the socio-cultural, economic, and political factors affect the emotional development of patient.
Based on the level of competencies, studies have shown that baccalaureate prepared nurses have higher skills, knowledge and experiences and also exhibits higher rescue responses that nurses prepared under associate degree program. Some scholars have pegged their arguments on the costs of program delivery as one of the determining factors in which case they attach the high costs of training a Baccalaureate nurse to the higher qualifications (Manojlovich, Sidani, Covell & Antonakos, 2011). For example, a case study of Magnet Hospitals showed that with the higher number of baccalaureate nurses, the hospital experiences lower rate of inpatient deaths within the period of study and lower cases of failure to rescue as compared to other hospitals where the services of associate degree nurses are highly employed.
Studies have also shown that Baccalaureate nurses are more linked to instances of lower mortality compared to the associate degree nurses. This means that on the side of nursing practices and patients’ care, a baccalaureate nurse has a positive impact on the health outcome of the patients, hence reducing the time the patient takes to heal.
A Patient’s Care Situation
A female patient with high blood pressure is reported by a clinician to have a rising blood pressure after taking two cups of coffee and an intense argument with her family members (Blegen, Goode, Park, Vaughn & Spetz, 2013). The patient’s scenario may be handled differently based on the experiences and skills of the nurses. For example, an associate degree nurse may report the case and proceed to give prescription while a baccalaureate nurse may give further assessment to the patient taking into consideration other factors like stress and the stimulant the patient consumed.
This case brings us to the general understanding that an associate degree nurse is more inclined to the technical aspects of nursing that are appropriate to patients’ care, particularly during illness because the nursing practices are highly restricted to the nursing care. The case also present the view that an associate degree nursing prioritizes on leadership roles that can be used for patient supervision and not in areas of decision making (Manojlovich, Sidani, Covell & Antonakos, 2011). While an associate degree nurse who wants to become a graduate degree nurse must complete a baccalaureate degree program, a baccalaureate nursing program provides the nurse with the shortest and more direct means to attain the overall nursing goal.
Aiken, L. H., Cimiotti, J. P., Sloane, D. M., Smith, H. L., Flynn, L., & Neff, D. F. (2011). The effects of nurse staffing and nurse education on patient deaths in hospitals with different nurse work environments. Medical care, 49(12), 1047.
Blegen, M. A., Goode, C. J., Park, S. H., Vaughn, T., & Spetz, J. (2013). Baccalaureate education in nursing and patient outcomes. Journal of Nursing Administration, 43(2), 89-94.
Kutney-Lee, A., Sloane, D. M., & Aiken, L. H. (2013). An increase in the number of nurses with baccalaureate degrees is linked to lower rates of postsurgery mortality. Health Affairs, 32(3), 579-586.
Manojlovich, M., Sidani, S., Covell, C. L., & Antonakos, C. L. (2011). Nurse dose: linking staffing variables to adverse patient outcomes. Nursing research, 60(4), 214-220.