The field of nursing

The Discipline of Nursing

The discipline of nursing has been evolving at a rapid pace, resulting in numerous changes in this profession. New degrees have been introduced, which has improved the mode of study. All of these improvements in the nursing profession aim to improve and ensure that patients receive the greatest possible care and attention. When it comes to the effectiveness of either Associate-degree level trained nurses or Baccalaureate-level trained nurses, there is uncertainty. Graduates from both levels take the same nursing council tests and become registered nurses after passing them. The distinction in competences between the two levels of nursing has long been questioned. Some of the differences will be discussed in the following paragraphs.

Associate Degree in Nursing

The associate degree program was introduced in 1958. The program takes two years to prepare a nurse in applying both technical and clinical skills when taking care of patients. The core components studied during this level are managing care, critical thinking, communication, problem-solving skills, clinical decision making and clinical assessment. The nurses at this level are mostly exposed to clinical setting and disease conditions (Baker et al., 2011). A qualified associate degree nurse mainly works as a bedside nurse. They use clinical competence and accountability to provide care to patients. At this level, there is minimal or no research done.

Baccalaureate Degree in Nursing

The baccalaureate degree level was introduced in 1909. The program takes four years of education in a college or university. The program mostly focuses on evidence-based clinical practice and covers the content learned in both diploma and associate degree levels (Spetz et al., 2013). In addition, the students study nursing leadership, social and physical sciences, nursing research, community health, public health, humanities and nursing management. At the end of the program, a baccalaureate graduate has enhanced professional development understanding that impacts the patients positively making health care even better.

Difference in Competencies of Baccalaureate Degree Nursing Versus Associate Degree Nursing

As the comparison between the two levels of nursing is debated, there is no claim that the nurses who hold the associate degree offer less care to the patients compared to the nurses holding a baccalaureate degree. The baccalaureate degree nurses are better trained and have better education experience which means they can handle more patients while offering better care. The high quality of clinical practice provided by a nurse with baccalaureate is as a result of the in-depth studies (Kopko et al., 2016). They are able to make proficient diagnoses, improved patient outcomes, and better nursing interventions.

The nursing theories are applied by the nurses at the workplace to improve the care of patients. They are able to understand and tackle complex issues related to the patients and that of the health care environment. While comparing the competencies between these two levels of nursing, nurses with the baccalaureate degree have a greater variety of duties than the nurses holding the associate degree. They take more positions such as those of nursing education or nursing research. Nurses with an associate degree have very limited chance of getting such positions or roles due to lack of enough knowledge in such fields.

An example is a patient with chronic bronchitis who is a chain smoker. In such a case, a nurse with an associate degree will administer medication to the patient as per the doctor's prescription. The nurse will even explain how to take the medical treatment for example how to use the bronchodilators. A nurse with baccalaureate degree educates the patient on ways that can help him quit smoking which is an important step in managing chronic bronchitis. The nurse inquires about the working condition of the patient to ensure that the patient is not exposed to airborne chemicals. In the case of such working environments, the nurse advises the patient to use protective gears such as a nose mask. The nurse also educates the patient on the importance of drinking plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration. She can advise the patient to do a physical activity which can help in strengthening the breathing muscles. The nurse also informs the patient to look out for further symptoms such as the skin and lips developing a bluish color which indicates the lack of oxygen in his bloodstream. This additional information will help the patient in the proper management of his condition.


In conclusion, nurses with an associate degree are said to be more professional because they focus mostly on technical training. Nurses with a baccalaureate degree can deliver their services to outpatients and even private homes. They can also take the role of training community health. A research study has shown that a hospital with more nurses with a baccalaureate degree has a lower mortality rate compared to a hospital with few nurses with this degree. It is important for a nurse to understand the environment of their patient. This covers the physical, social, spiritual, intellectual, and emotional environment. The duties of a nurse are not only restricted to treating and caring for patients but also taking steps in the prevention of diseases and health promotion. It is the role of the nurse to give compassionate care to those patients who are facing death.


Baker, S. L., Fitzpatrick, J. J., & Griffin, M. Q. (2011). Empowerment and Job Satisfaction in Associate Degree Nurse Educators. Nursing Education Perspectives (National League For Nursing), 32(4), 234-239. doi:10.5480/1536-5026-32.4.234

Kopko, E., & Crosta, P. (2016). Should Community College Students Earn an Associate Degree Before Transferring to a 4-Year Institution?. Research In Higher Education, 57(2), 190-222.

Spetz, J., & Bates, T. (2013). Is a Baccalaureate in Nursing Worth It? The Return to Education, 2000-2008. Health Services Research, 48(6pt1), 1859-1878. doi:10.1111/1475-6773.12104

Deadline is approaching?

Wait no more. Let us write you an essay from scratch

Receive Paper In 3 Hours
Calculate the Price
275 words
First order 15%
Total Price:
$38.07 $38.07
Calculating ellipsis
Hire an expert
This discount is valid only for orders of new customer and with the total more than 25$
This sample could have been used by your fellow student... Get your own unique essay on any topic and submit it by the deadline.

Find Out the Cost of Your Paper

Get Price