Educational Preparedness: Differences in Competencies,
Associate Degree in Nursing Versus Bachelor of Science in Nursing
To become an RN, the person must graduate from an accredited nursing program, including the Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) and the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). ADN is typically a nursing program spanning over the course of two years, and is offered at a community college, whereas BSN can be earned in a four-year program at a university (Cresaia & Friberg). To acquire a license, both new graduate categories should pass the same National Council Licensure Exam (NCLEX). Despite the differences in the level of education, ADN and BSN receive the same RN license. Both ADN and BSN nurses are able to provide patient care and carry out their duties that are in their scope of practice.
While there are many similarities between ADN and BSN nurses, there are also several aspects that set them apart. The difference in competencies are as a result of higher professional education BSN nurses undergo due to receiving more training in “treatment of the physical and social sciences, nursing research, public and community health, nursing management, and the humanities” ( American Association of Colleges of Nursing). The BSN program is based primarily on theory and research thus giving a bigger picture of the issue at hand. BSN nurses are also active and creative thinking administrators, as well as care professionals. An extremely vital component that makes it possible to shape and form the worldview for BSN nurses is an education based on a humanistic approach that is aimed at understanding the importance of a patient’s rights and freedoms. Ethics plays an important role in BSN education and is crucial in providing a necessary professional growth for the nurse which allows him/her in making informed and responsible decisions. According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), “…health care facilities with higher percentages of BSN nurses enjoy better patient outcomes and significantly lower mortality rates.” This quote proves that BSN nurses are more competent in providing nursing care. ADN nurses, on the other hand, mostly concentrate on technical skills while theory, research and science are secondary.
BSN nurses are more preferred by hospitals and other facilities because they have more skills in leadership, theory, and management. “BSN nurses are prized for their skills in critical thinking, leadership, case management, and health promotion, and for their ability to practice across a variety of inpatient and outpatient settings.” (AACN, 2017) The attractiveness of the BSN degree depend not only on the skills and abilities that must be brought to the true art of nursing, but also on the thoroughness of scientific training. This will ensure the continuity of nursing education. Higher professional education contributes to the establishment of an equal partnership of nurses with doctors to achieve their ultimate goal – to help the sick.
As a new graduate, I have experience in acute care from my clinicals only. This lack of experience leaves me struggling to answer the second question. However, from what I’ve already learned in this class, I can make the conclusion that BSN education must include care training, analytical skills, and critical thinking rooted in evidence-based practice. While providing patient care, a BSN nurse should apply what he/she had learned from the University curriculum. Even when performing simple tasks such as providing ADLs to the patient, the nurse should rely on theory and research the patient’s cultural background such as ethnicity, nationality, religion, etc. in order to discover any cultural restrictions, especially ones that have to do with physical contact. Being culture sensitive with proper research, allows the BSN nurse to provide the best quality of care. ADN education, on the other hand, doesn’t stress theory and research nearly as much as BSN. Unlike BSN, they often use a more hands-on approach when it comes to care and rarely address nursing science.
With this evidence, one can confirm that BSN nurses are more suited when it comes to making scientific decisions, using critical thinking, applying theory, carrying out research, etc. These traits all play a role in lower mortality rates of patients when it comes to BSN nurses and are what make them more appealing in medical facilities. This continuation of education has a crucial role in broadening the nurse’s area of expertise and is what allows for better understanding of a problem. Nurses are then more likely to use a more holistic approach rather than a technical. This approach means that the nurse is more likely to focus on the patient and their needs, and not solely on the illness.
American Association of Colleges of Nursing. (2017). Fact sheet: The Impact of Education on
Nursing Practice. Retrieved on May 12, 2018, from
Creasia, ; Friberg (2011). Conceptual foundations: The bridge to professional nursing practice
(5th ed.). Retrieved on May 12,2018 from