Baccalaureate degree in nursing and associate degree program

A baccalaureate degree in nursing and an associate degree program are two well-known paths that a person can take. It can be difficult to tell the difference between BSN nurses and ADN nurses. To become a registered nurse, both school programs expect students to pass a similar NCLEX examination (Auerbach, Buerhaus, and Staiger, 2015). Yet, there are some distinctions between the two types of learning. The quality of treatment provided to patients and the educational curriculum are two key differences. In this paper, the findings of the differences are discussed, and a patient care situation is presented to show the difference in nursing care or decision-making methods depending on the learning preparedness of the BSN nurse in contrast to ADN nurse. The study demonstrates that nurses prepared at the BSN level are more skilled than nurses having associate-degree level, and therefore encourages ADN nurses to pursue BSN program so that to become more competent professionals.

Educational Curriculum

Auerbach, Buerhaus, and Staiger (2015) opine that the ADN level is a two-year nursing program which enables nurses to utilize medical and technical skills after their graduation. Typically, the ADN curriculum prepares students to learn the basic concepts of nursing like simple nursing care, utilizing medical equipment, recording patient symptoms, and working in close collaboration with doctors. The associate program provides accessible and affordable courses which in this modern time are significant opportunity that create skilled bedside nursing practitioners who can undertake the NCLEX-RN exam after graduating. On the other hand, the BSN level is a four-year curriculum which develops on the clinical and technical skills of the ADN curriculum (Auerbach, Buerhaus, and Staiger, 2015). In the BSN curriculum, the aspects of learning are developed by integrating legal, ethical, psychosocial, and evidenced based nursing into practice. BSN curriculum prepares graduates to offer efficient holistic care whereas promoting a passion for task accomplishment, a constant inquisitiveness for knowledge, and a quest for advanced learning.

Level of Quality Care

AACN (2013) identifies that BSN education enhances both care delivery and clinical competency. The BSN education is a more comprehensive education that produces BSN nurses who are better in critical thinking and more skilled in avoiding fatal errors and are advanced in day-to-day nursing tasks. Blegen, Goode, Park, Vaughn, and Spetz (2013) view that a better knowledge enables BSN nurses to tackle all pressing concerns. BSN nurses study economic, social, mental, ethical, emotional, and legal concerns which are relevant to well-being and health care. Associate degree nurses can undertake further studies to pursue BSN program to acquire holistic (all-rounded) study.

A BSN nurse appears to create more in-depth investigation of the disease process and engages in deeper critical thinking about issues behind the illness rather than simply being a goal-oriented associate degree nurse. BSN education prepares nurses to serve in leadership positions in various settings (Creasia and Friberg, 2010). Getting BSN can unfold many job openings for an individual, including making one more preferable to potential employers. Several nursing practitioners experience fatigue and exhaustion from being lower-level nurses and having BSN can enable them have an alternative to ascend to managerial positions or can get job openings in various industries in research jobs, pharmaceutical organizations, insurance companies, or even teaching jobs. Creasia and Friberg (2010) indicate that BSN nurses apply evidence-based practices thus deliver better patient outcomes. Auerbach, Buerhaus, and Staiger (2015) identify that when BSN and ADN nurses graduate they are the same in terms of skill competency, though BSN nurses demonstrate superior clinical judgment and better diagnostic and creative thinking within 1 year. Such skills are vital for superior patient outcomes in care organizations. Blegen, Goode, Park, Vaughn, and Spetz (2013) reveal that care organizations with higher numbers of BSN nursing practitioners or registered nurses with higher degrees have better patient outcome, a shorter patient length of stay, and reduced mortality rates. The authors show that BSN nurses have fewer patient complications and better outcomes, something that is good for everybody.

Patient Care Scenario

A case which I imagine is a patient in labor and who has had slightly increased blood pressure is admitted to a hospital where she is dispensed a blood pressure medication. When she progressed into labor, the patient\u2019s blood pressure began to increase slightly. The associate degree nurse came and saw the readings and eventually prescribed the blood pressure medication since that was what she was trained to perform. While the BSN nurse came and saw the same reading, she noticed that the patient was a little upset and appeared more uncomfortable. As a baccalaureate degree nurse, I would have inquired if the patient was experiencing increased pain and in case that was true gave her drugs for pain relief to reduce blood pressure. Moreover, I would inquire her if any other thing was bothering her since she appeared disturbed. The bedridden woman said she and her husband had just engaged in a fierce quarrel and she was angry about the dispute. Therefore with a comfortable environment as well as some kind of pain relief, the BSN nursing practitioner successfully managed to avoid the dispensation of extra medicines to the patient\u2019s blood pressure.


Aiken, Clarke, Lake, and Cheney (2008) identify that BSN nurses offer better outcomes in health care facilities. Also, Estabrooks, Midodzi, Cummings, Ricker, and Giovanetti (2005) reveal that care institutions with a bigger ratio of BSN nursing practitioners contribute to a lower 30-day mortality rate of a patient. Nursing requires that a whole person to be put into account so that a nurse can give efficient care to the individual (Creasia and Friberg, 2010). Associate degree nurses have an \u201cun-whole\u201d (incomplete) learning, which limits their nursing knowledge. Therefore this is a wake-up call for them as an evidenced-based study shows that better nursing outcomes are connecteed with higher staffing of BSN nurses (Rosseter, 2015). Health care facilities, particularly hospitals, are nowadays opting to employ nurses with BSN degrees. Thus, Rosseter (2015) encourages associate degree nurses pursue BSN program to offer a superior quality of health care and to enable them to ascend to leadership positions.



Aiken, L., Clarke, S., Lake, E & Cheney, T. (2008). Effects of hospital care environment on patient mortality and nurse outcomes. Journal of nursing administration, 38(5), 223-229.

American association of colleges of nursing (AACN) (2013). Annual report. Retrieved on August 4, 2017 from

Auerbach, D., Buerhaus, P., & Staiger, D. (2015). Do associate degree registered nurses fare differently in the nurse labor market compared to baccalaureate-prepared RNs? Nursing economics, 33(1), 8-13.

Blegen, M., Goode, C., Park, S., Vaughn, T & Spetz, J. (2013). Baccalaureate education in nursing and patient outcomes. Journal of nursing administration, 43(2), 89-94.

Creasia, J & Friberg, E. (2010). Conceptual foundations. The bridge to professional nursing practice 5th edition. St. Louis MO: Elsevier Mosby.

Eastbrooks, C., Mldodzi, W., Cummings, G., Ricker, K & Giovanetti, P. (2005). The impact of hospital nursing characteristics on 30-day mortality. Journal of nursing administration, 4(718), 958-968.

Rosseter, R. (2015). Creating a more highly qualified nursing workforce. American association of colleges of nursing. Retrieved on August 4, 2017 from

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