Educational Preparation

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Thecurrent dynamics and challenges affecting the healthcare sectorrequire a well trained workforce in order to enhance thecompetitiveness of the health care facilities. Nurses undergodifferent training and educational programs, which creates adifference in their levels of competitiveness (Eizenberg, 2010).Nurses who undertake educational programs that equip them withresearch skills have more capacity to address the current health carechallenges. This paper will address the differences between theassociate degree nurses (ADN) and Baccalaureate degree nurses (BDN)with a focus on differences in their levels of competence and howthey would handle palliative care patients.

Associatedegree nurses

Anassociate degree is usually awarded by nursing schools or communitycolleges and it takes a period of approximately 2-3 years tocomplete. After getting the associate degree, students are allowed tosit for the NCLEX-RN certification exam, which leads to theirregistration as nurse practitioners (Ley, 2015). This associatedegree program for nurses was initiated in the year 1951 with theobjective of reducing the number of years that it takes to prepare anurse. This would help address the shortage of qualified nursesstarting from the period in the aftermath of the World War II, whenthe services of nurses were highly demanded. Students who areundertaking the associate degree program earn some work experiencesby taking part in clinical rotations in different departments, suchas maternity, pediatrics, and emergency (Ley, 2015). Some of therelevant topics that associate degree students learn include biology,anatomy, and nutrition.

Thecompetence of nurses prepared through the associate degree is basedon the fact that these nurses are trained under clinical settings,which give nurses the opportunity to have a firsthand experience.However, the associate degree requires students to conduct verylittle research if any, this limit the ability of graduates to adoptevidence-based practices, making them less relevant in the modernhealth care settings (Ley, 2015). The modern health care settingsrequire providers to be involved in research in order to deliverholistic care. Moreover, the lack of collegiate degree curriculum,nurses with associate degree finds it challenging to compete withother graduates. It is expected that the recruitment of associatedegree nurses will decrease in the future as the health carefacilities continue to pursue the magnet status.

Baccalaureatedegree nurses

Baccalaureatedegree normally focuses on the principles and the science of nursing.The degree program was started in the year 1946 with the objective ofencouraging the veterans to enroll for college education andvocational training (Atasie, 2015). This degree is awarded bytertiary institutions. Attaining the baccalaureate degree takes about4-5 years, where the first two years are spent on general educationwhile the next three years are used to learn core nursing courses.The general knowledge that is learned during the first two years givenurses a wider variety of work-related experience and enhances theirprofessional roles (Ley, 2015). Graduates of Baccalaureate degree areallowed to sit for the NCLEX, which culminates in their becomingregistered nurses, RN.

Thebaccalaureate degree nurse is exposed to a longer duration ofeducation, which gives them an in-depth understanding of the nursingcurriculum. BSN graduates are exposed to leadership, administration,nurse management, extensive care, and humanity courses (Atasie,2015). Other courses that help BSN graduate have a wider view of thenursing practice as compared to ADN graduates include communityhealth, psychology, socio-economic, and spiritual courses. Thesecourses help BSN graduates to assume a wide range of roles thatinclude administrative and beside functions. The extensive trainingoffered to BSN enhances their ability to ensure the safety ofpatients and provide unique skills in the health care sector.

Patientsituation and how educational preparation matters

Palliativecare is one example that can demonstrate differences in decisionmaking and competence of BDN and ADN graduates. In most cases,patients going through palliative care have no capacity tocommunicate their health needs and may end-up refusing food ormedication (Ley, 2015). In such scenario, an ADN is likely to recordpatient’s refusal of food or medication without conducting a properassessment of the underlying problem. This is because ADNs aretrained to check the patients’ vital signs, fed patients, anddeliver medication, which limits their assessment skills. BSN, on theother hand, would consider psychological, cultural, and spiritualfactors that could have contributed towards patient’s conduct. Thisis because BSN are trained to understand when to listen, talk, andshow empathy to their clients. Instead of simply recording patient’srefusal to medication, a BSN will build a relationship with thefamily members in order to understand the culture as well as thespiritual beliefs held by the patient.


Differencesin the levels of competence among the BSN and ADN can be attributedto differences in the type of educational programs that theyundertake. ADNs are mainly trained to handle patents at bedside,while BSN graduates are equipped with a wide variety of skills thatinclude the cultural competency, leadership, research, andadministrative skills. These differences give reasons for differencesin the way ADNs and BSN respond differently to patient’s refusal tomedication.


Atasie,J. (2015). Thedifferences in competencies between nurses prepared at the associatedegree level vs. the baccalaureate degree level.Phoenix, AZ: Grand Canyon University.

Eizenberg,M. (2010). Implementation of evidence-based nursing practice: Nurses’personal and professional factors? Journalof Advanced Nursing,1, 33-42.

Ley,S. (2015). The differences between associate degrees vs. a bachelor’sdegree for a registered nurse. HearstSeattle Media, LLC.Retrieved January 8, 2016, from

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