Free Research Paper About Differences Between A Nurse With A Baccalaureate Degree And Other Degrees
There are two educational degrees associated with nurses: an Associate or Diploma nurse and the Baccalaureate Degree Nurse. The differences are not just in the amount of time spent in school, but in the directions the two types of degrees indicate. While the degrees in no way define the quality of the care a nurse provides, they do create a mindset for the new graduates.
The Board of Nursing
The Texas Board of Nursing (BON) was established in 1909 to supervise nurses practicing in the state of Texas (Bon.state.tx.us, 2015). Its responsibilities include protecting the public from individuals practicing nursing in an unsafe manner, approving the educational programs in more than 200 nursing schools, issuing more than 27,000 licenses annually through testing of new graduates or granting reciprocity to registered nurses from other states, and providing continuing education to the more than 350,000 licensed nurses currently practicing in the state. Adhering to the Nursing Practice Act and Rules and Regulations, the Texas Board of Nursing enforces minimum standard requirements for the education and practice of nurses in the state. It also investigates and makes decisions concerning complaints against nurses by organizations or other individuals. In the event of a negative conclusion, the BON has the responsibility to suspend licensure temporarily or permanently; it also sets the conditions of reinstatement if that is an option.
The Associate Degree Nurse
Men and women who pursue a nursing career by obtaining an associate degree education are required by the Board of Nursing to attend an accredited school of nursing for two to three years (Texas Board of Nursing, 2011). The approved curriculum contains general education classes that include human growth and development, communication, psychology, and sciences related to the major focus. Approximately 60 to 72 credit hours are required, with about half o them in courses directly related to nursing. The Board of Nursing mandates the graduates pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses. While waiting for the testing and licensure period, a permit is issued for nursing practice to commence for a 75 day period under the supervision of a professional registered nurse.
The Baccalaureate Degree Nurse
A nursing student pursuing a Bachelors Degree in Nursing (BSN) is also required to attend an accredited nursing school. The time period for graduation is typically four years; 60 hours of classes in natural, behavioral and social sciences are supplemented with courses in liberal arts and direct nursing education requires another 60-70 hours. Instructors are required to have a master’s degree in nursing and the nurse administrator must have graduate degree in nursing and a doctorate from an accredited university (NLNAC, 2015). The nursing student enrolled in a Baccalaureate program has an expanded education in nursing management, community health, research, public health, and leadership training. Like the Associate graduate, the BONS requires Baccalaureate graduates to successfully pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses and are issued a temporary 75 day permit to allow the nurse to begin practice. The attainment of a BSN degree allows the graduate to consider continuing his or her education into graduate programs for practicing advanced nursing as an instructor, administrator, researcher, or in an advanced practice.
Differences in Degrees in Terms of Practice
Nurses using their knowledge and skills to practice in Texas use their judgment and values to maintain ethical standards in patient care regardless of the amount of education they have received. These include selflessness (altruism), allowing patients dignity (human dignity), honesty (truth), fair treatment (justice), freedom, equality as a universal human value Kangasniemi, 2015), and a pleasing integration of practices (esthetics)(TheFreeDictionary.com, 2015).
The Texas Board of Nursing offers a table of Differentiated Essential Competencies on their website (Texas Board of Nursing, 2011). This table goes into depth on the roles and responsibilities of Vocational Nurses, Diploma and Associate Degree Nurses, and Baccalaureate Degree Nurses. Excluding vocational nurses from this discussion, there are differences in the education supplied for nurses graduating with an associate degree and those with a baccalaureate degree. The BSN students have expanded patient implications into the community and entire populations, including the reduction of risk to multiple communities. The BSN program stresses patient advocacy and leadership activities as part of being a professional nurse. While sharing a responsibility for maintaining competence with ADNs, they include self-analysis in evaluating needs. The BSN graduate uses the knowledge and reasoning supplied by the educational program, but also employs research for making decisions. The AND uses evidence-based data for evaluating needs, but the BDN also creates a complex whole of the information.
Conclusion: Making a Difference
Based on a comparison of educational requirements and definitions of responsibilities presented by nursing organizations, the differences in the practice of a nurse with an associate’s degree and one with a bachelors degree are in three respects: 1) a BSN registered nurse looks past the patient and the family to the community and the entire population in all aspects of case management, 2) the BSN nurse employs a more advanced education to incorporate research and leadership skills into the practice of nursing, and 3) the nurse with a bachelor’s degree has the ability to take far more information into account for developing case management as an integrated whole. In addition, the degree earned by the baccalaureate program allows entrance into more advanced educational opportunities and positions with advancing levels of responsibility.
The American Association of College of Nursing (2008) addresses the primary role of the nurse as a Member of the Profession. Practicing registered nurses reflect standards of professionalism and are responsible for continued education to support ethical practices within an acceptable set of values. Nurses working with the education supplied by a baccalaureate degree program are better equipped to make informed decisions for treating a wider scope of patient than nurses with lesser educations. While sharing comparable values and goals, the graduate with a baccalaureate degree has opportunities available that other nurses do not. As a member of this elite class, she has the privilege and responsibilities inherent in the designation as a Bachelor of Science in Nursing graduate.
Bon.state.tx.us. (2015). Welcome to the Texas Board of Nursing Website. Retrieved 27 February
2015, from http://www.bon.state.tx.us/
Kangasniemi, M. (2015). Equality as a central concept of nursing ethics: a systematic liter –
PubMed - NCBI. Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. Retrieved 28 February 2015, from
NLNAC. (2015). Standards and Criteria Baccalaureate Degree Programs. Retrieved 28
February 2015, from
TheFreeDictionary.com. (2015). (individual words). Retrieved 28 February 2015, from
Texas Board of Nursing. (2011). Differentiated Essential Competencies of Graduates of Texas
Nursing Programs. Retrieved 27 February 2015, from
American Association of College of Nursing. (2008). The Essentials of Baccalaureate Education
for Professional Nursing Practice.
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