Discuss the Differences in Competencies between Nurses Prepared At the Associate-Degree Level versus the Baccalaureate-Degree Level

Discussthe Differences in Competencies between Nurses Prepared At theAssociate-Degree Level versus the Baccalaureate-Degree Level

Theever evolving pathway in the nursing sector of the healthcare fieldcannot go unnoticed. Initially, the field was structured andstretched on numerous frameworks of education. However, with time itwas streamlined and clear stages for one to become a registered nursewere put in place. Common education, the necessities of nursing,Associate and the Baccalaureate degree levels, Master of nursing inthe several fields, and the Doctoral degree are the typical stages inthe contemporary field of nursing. Just as any other department, eachstage of training instills a number of competencies in theindividuals who go through it. This paper focuses on the competencydifferences portrayed by nurses, from the Baccalaureate degree levelin nursing (BSN) and the Associate degree level (ADN), as well asbrings out a situational context and how the nurses with the twobackgrounds differ in decision-making when placed in the samesituation.

Differencesbetween the associate-degree level versus baccalaureate-degree levelnurses

TheAssociate degree program was adopted in the year 1958 to counter theinadequacy in the number of nurses that was being experienced in thepost-world war period (Giger, 2011). It mainly emphasized on theprovision of direct care to the patients using a well-structuredcommon diagnosis. It is, therefore, necessary for the healthfacilities to lay down protocols, which nurses are to follow in theirpractice as well as for their guidance and clarification. It is,therefore, clear that the decision-making aspect is restricted sincethe nurses are not independent to make a decision they must followand adhere to the already laid down protocols. The curriculum takenby nurses, in this context, assumes the technical nature and isfounded on orientation to tasks and consideration of the patients’needs and conditions.

Thenurses, also, recognize the importance of standardization of the datacollected and make efforts to collect information in a comprehensivemanner (Giger, 2011). The competencies in this field are centered onthe counselor, the activities of the educator, and the healthcareprovider. The ADN is, therefore, alleged responsible for its ownactions and for those it delegates duties to. It offers assessment,implementation, and planning of the patient care direct fromadmission to discharge.

BSNpreparation takes a maximum of 4years. The course stresses oncritical thinking aspects, research skills, leadership skills,management ability, and the health activities within the community(Smith, 2007). It is, therefore, clear that nurses within this levelhave exemplary skills and capacities when it comes to autonomousdecision-making and problem-solving. Though nurses, within thisbracket, take up same roles as their colleagues in the associatelevels, their responsibilities are far much broad. For instance, theyconsider the physical, social background, spiritual, intellectualcapacity, and the emotional concepts when tackling the general healthissues of an individual. They tend to incorporate the theoreticalnursing aspects with the existing evidence to get the holisticpicture of the patient and the community setup.

Theoryand research form the basis of knowledge, within this area, givingroom for opportunities to offer not only teaching services but alsoleadership services within the healthcare environment (Martin, 2010).The nurses deal with complicated concepts and offer education topatients. In addition, they are also responsible for strategizing andcoordination of the comprehensive plans within the nursing sector tobe followed from the patient`s pre-admission to the time he isdischarged and thereafter. The strategies include supervision of thenurses’ assistants together with the various assistive personnelwho are not licensed, coming up with a discharge and instructionplans for the patients and working in partnership with the patient’sdoctors, relatives, hospital departments, and other resourcefulindividuals.

Exampleof patient situation

Thereare significant differences when it comes to care provision andpatient handling between the two levels. For instance, let us take anexample of a 65-year-old female who has been admitted after beingdiagnosed with breast cancer to the oncology department. An ADN nursewill usher in the patient, check the dynamic symptoms, and carry outthe assessment of the skin. Thereafter, the nurse will go back to thefacility structured protocols touching on the same issue. Thedecision made in this situation will rely on the assessment of theplan. Therefore, the nurse’s decision-making aspects will berestricted.

Onthe other hand, the BSN degree holder will go an extra mile andcoordinate all the care needed for the patient from the assessment tohis background. The nurse will collaborate with the doctor, thephysical therapists, the social workers in the establishment, and theimplementation of a care program of the patient. The decisionreached, in this case, will be independent and not restricted to anylaid down protocols.


Fromthe discussion, it is clear that BSN are more competent than ASNnurses, when dealing with complex issues within the healthcaresector. Though they emulate some aspects from the ASN level, theirdecision is much independent when compared to the associate nurses’decisions.


Giger,J. (2011). Conceptual and theoretical approaches to patient care:associate versus baccalaureate degree prepared nurses.&nbspJournalof Advanced Nursing,&nbsp15(9),1009-1015. doi:10.1111/1365-2648.ep8529224.

Martin,P. (2010). Professional Values Held by Baccalaureate and AssociateDegree Nursing Students.&nbspJournalof Nursing Scholarship,&nbsp35(3),291-296.

Smith,Q. (2007). 5 COMPETENCIES Needed by New BaccalaureateGraduates.&nbspNursingEducation Perspectives,&nbsp25(4),166-170.