Graduate Programs in Nursing

In an article published in the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, Rosseter (2012) argues that the quality of care given to patients in hospitals is directly dependable on the education qualification of the nurses offering this care. So put, we establish that there are two modes of qualification to become a nurse in America. These are either through acquiring an Associate-degree or a baccalaureate degree in nursing. According to the American Association of College of Nursing (2011), these two modes of qualification produce nurses who have differing levels of competency. The nursing concept today has changed a lot because of the advent of modernization and technology (Clarke et al., 2008).

This paper will try to examine what differences, if any, exists in competency levels of the two classes of nurses and also identify the effects this has on their general performance.

Educational preparation for the two degrees

The associate nursing degree or ADN is offered as a two year course. This degree concentrates mostly on the technical skills the nurses are supposed to have to enable them to effectively execute their duties. Degree is considered to be a stepping stone for further qualification in the nursing profession. After one undertakes this degree, he or she qualifies to become a registered nurse. Most of the people who take on this degree go on to take a two years program to attain the baccalaureate degree.  However, one can still start working as a nurse with this qualification. The course is taught in many technical, communities, junior or vocational colleges.

A baccalaureate degree in nursing or BSN is a little more advanced than the associate nursing degree. This degree is offered as a four year course by many universities in the country. This degree has more rigorous training and it is considered to be of much higher status than the associate nursing degree. The nurses who have undertaken this degree have attained supervisory roles over the other types of nurses and they may even have a better pay check.

Differences in content of training in between the two degrees

Since the two degrees take different times to study in college, it is evident that the BSN degree which takes longer to complete compared to the associate nursing degree by two years must have more content. This leads us to look into the content that the two degree programs offer and this is discussed in the ensuing discourse.

The associate of nursing degree

This degree is a two year fast program. The nurses are mainly taught how to handle technical situations in their work places. The limit of what the study offers lies on community interactions, with minimal knowledge and exposure to community health and limitations on the study of patho-physiology of various diseases.

The baccalaureate of nursing degree

This is a four year degree course. Entrants to this program are either freshmen, who study for four years or nurses who have done an associate degree in nursing course (ADN) who take two years to finish the course. It is inarguably the highest qualification of the registered nursing. Here, all aspects of health care are taught. Apart from learning all the basic skills that the associate nurses learn, the nurse studying for a BSN degree also learns about community health. They are taught about how to relate to the public and the community and to understand the levels of toxins the community is exposed to and the treatment that best befits a particular scenario.

These nurses also study intensively about the patho-physiology of various diseases giving them a better exposure to how drugs and diseases work so that they can be able to effectively interpret the prescriptions and diagnosis of the doctor.  They are taught how to assess, think critically, inter-relation with the patients and other nurses as well as supervisory tutorials. They are taught how to conduct early detections of affiliations, promote health and offer compassion to the terminally ill patients.

Patient care scenario

The research conducted by the American Association College of Nursing (2011) and Ellis (2006) found out that patients who were suffering from cancer and other terminal diseases and placed under the care of the BSN nurses lived longer and were more comfortable than those placed under the care of the ADN nurses. This is because the BSN nurses are equipped with skills of offering compassion and tenderness to such people (Tourangeau et al., 2007). They know how to make them comfortable by listening and providing for their needs in a very professional manner.


It is without doubt proven that the nurses with a BSN professional qualification are better equipped and well readied to handle almost all cases that require patient care within the hospital with a better touch of professionalism as compared to nurses with an ADN degree qualification. The fact that those nurses with an ADN degree strive to add their education so that they can become BSN qualified serves to only strengthen this fact.

The differences in the kind of education offered is what brings about the difference in their competency. Nurses at ADN level are ill equipped to handle matters that are not technical in nature unlike the BSN trained nurses who are all rounded.

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