Ideally, nurses with an associate’s degree handle the same work as BSN holders. They also pass the same exam, hold the same license, and most of the times start working at the same entry level and salary scale. However, recently, there has been an increased demand for Baccalaureate-prepared nurses, and concerns about the potential effects of educational quality on the productivity of the nursing workforce.
The Quality of Education on Nursing Outcomes
Over the last few years, the health care system is changing with increasing complexity of care delivery. While ADN nurses perform the same job as BSN-prepared nurses, they may not be prepared for the kind of nursing roles that are needed in the current and future health care system. Precisely according to a report by the Institute of Medicine (2011), this is because BSN nurses attend an elaborate curriculum and clinical hours that ensures that they are highly trained and better qualified to handle more care jobs. Similarly, a study by Aiken, Sloane, & Bruyneel (2014), which examined data from 422,730 patients, shows that for every 10 percent increase of nurses with a Bachelor’s degree, mortality rates decreased by 7 percent. The findings strongly correlate with the research that shows that a well-educated nursing workforce affects the quality of care.
Essentially, from personal observations, the number of years BSN nurses spends in school and the wide range of the curriculum they are expected to complete leaves them more qualified as compared to their AND-prepared counterparts. The BSN level of education allows nurses to grow in areas of knowledge and professionalism, nurturing them into effective change agents and patient advocates. From this understanding, we can conclude that the level of nursing education determines the quality of care delivery and patient outcomes in hospital settings.
Aiken, L. H., Sloane, D. M., Bruyneel, L., Van, H. K., Griffiths, P., Busse, R., Diomidous, M., … Sermeus, W. (2014). Nurse staffing and education and hospital mortality in nine European countries: a retrospective observational study. The Lancet, 383(9931), 1824-1830.
Institute of Medicine (U.S.)., Robert Wood Johnson Foundation., & National Academies Press (U.S.). (2011). The future of nursing: Leading change, advancing health. Washington, D.C: National Academies Press.
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