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BSN and ADN Degree for Nurses

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Many patients might think that all nurses have the same education as they perform the same work. Nonetheless, there are several ways to become a qualified nurse. Two main methods of it are to obtain the associate-degree level or the baccalaureate-degree level. They allow a student to receive some basic knowledge of nursing. At the same time, various distinct moments in the structure of training for each level affect the preparation and responsibilities of nurses. While the nurse with the associate degree (AD) is capable of helping the patient when it is necessary to provide them with aid as soon as possible, she does not have enough knowledge to work with medical equipment, create a rehabilitation plan, and work in a healthcare setting of various levels as the nurse with the baccalaureate degree does.

Nurses with different levels of education possess various competencies. On the one hand, nurses with the bachelor’s degree level can use certain competencies that limit the number of their duties. First, the structure of bachelor’s degree implies that the nurse acquires profound knowledge not only on the care of patients but also on the related sciences, which means that nurses can use such competence as the ability of critical thinking due to a checkup of the patient and planning treatment method for them. The main abilities, to which the attention is paid during the training for a bachelor’s degree, are communication skills, leadership development, and critical thinking (Ley, n.d.) Consequently, a nurse with a bachelor’s degree can take care of patients as well as provide them with training services. She can inform them about various simple procedures and upcoming treatment.

In addition, the bachelor’s degree level allows nurses to use different modern medical equipment for nurses since the workers, who have obtained a bachelor’s degree, receive tasks that are associated with it more often because they have some experience with sophisticated equipment through their university studies. Consequently, since many bachelor programs contain technology courses, students with a bachelor’s degree have significant experience of work with complex equipment before finding a position in a real hospital (Grover, n.d.). Thereby, these nurses may use not only spoken and written methods of work but also may manage the technology competence in order to provide appropriate care to their patients. Furthermore, leadership skills through the treatment of patients and the creation of a professional workplace environment belong to the competence of nurses with a bachelor’s degree. Such nurses can take care of patients as well as create a plan of care. This is a strong advantage of a bachelor’s degree because many hospitals need more doctors than they have.

Moreover, nurses with BSN degree may use the competence to compile and compare the latest knowledge in the field of healthcare in order to be aware of the recent methods of treatment. In such a way, “they teach nursing skills as well as a substantial number of electives, general science courses, and other things that do not directly pertain to nursing” (Grover, n.d.). This is the reason why many health professionals with a bachelor’s degree in this field are highly valued employees. These nurses can successfully perform their duties in the most complex and specialized areas, such as puerperal, as they have the advanced knowledge of the patient’s health and various instruments.

At the same time, unlike the nurses, who have the associate-degree level, their colleagues with a baccalaureate degree have more benefits in such competency as versatility. All nurses with a higher degree of education have competencies in such areas as critical care, outpatient care, public health, and mental health (American Association of Colleges of Nursing, 2000). Thereby, the baccalaureate degree nurses can take care of patients at all stages of the treatment of any disease because they have an extensive knowledge of most of them.

On the other hand, the associate-degree level allows nurses to use certain competencies that limit their responsibilities in treating patients. One of their main competencies is the ability to assess the client’s condition and make clinical decision on the first aid. Thus, the structure of an associate degree contains information on “anatomy, biology, and nutrition, and students also receive general introductory training regarding nursing issues, the nursing profession and care for various patient populations” (Ley, n.d.). Consequently, nurses with this type of training can provide first aid and perform a simple care of patients. Nevertheless, they are not sufficiently informed to set a diagnosis and inform patients about the upcoming treatment.

In addition, one of the main competencies that help nurses with an associate degree level to work is the ability and responsibility to make teaching service for the patient. Due to the fact that these nurses receive a fairly deep knowledge of healthcare tasks and methods, they can advise patients on their illness and treatment plans. This can help to establish a contact between a treating physician and a patient because the latter will understand why their doctor uses certain methods and how they can be useful. Moreover, patients often have to make decisions about their treatment or treatment of their relatives. In such cases, the nurse helps them make the most qualified decision.

Finally, it is possible to consider and compare all competencies of ADN and BSN degree nurses by using a concrete example. This scenario could involve a patient who entered the hospital after an accident. Thus, ADN nurses can assess the patient’s condition and decide on the provision of first aid for them. They can explain what trauma the patient has and provide training services to avoid more damage while waiting for treatment. After this, they can professionally tell the doctor about the examination and the condition of the patient so that the latter could prescribe the right treatment.

Further, the competence that allows nurses to work in a collaboration is also one of the core abilities of nurses with an associate degree level. Thus, many nurses with this level of education work in a team with other colleagues and mentors because they do not have sufficient qualifications for independent work. Thereby, they can share responsibilities with team members and make decisions in accordance with the advice of other hospital staff.

As for BSN degree nurses, in this case, they can assess the patient’s condition and critically evaluate what methods can help them with their trauma. They are capable of using the technical equipment of the hospital to help patients in serious condition and make a far-reaching treatment plan. Moreover, they can show leadership abilities and provide their patients with the care of several nurses if it is necessary. Thereby, they have more competencies than their colleagues with a lower level of education.

In conclusion, there are quite a few differences between the working duties of nurses with different levels of education. All of them are connected with the fact that workers with a bachelor’s degree have more experience and knowledge in related fields than workers with an associate-degree level. Consequently, nurses with a bachelor degree can act as mentors to their colleagues and conduct educational programs for their patients. Moreover, they have greater experience that allows them to make decisions independently and quickly. In addition, they have a chance to work in specialized clinics and departments because they have experience with a complex medical equipment. Thereby, nurses with an associate-degree level can perform a basic care to their patients; nonetheless, they do not have enough experience and knowledge to perform more complex duties.


American Association of Colleges of Nursing. (2000). The Baccalaureate Degree in nursing as minimal preparation for professional practice. Retrieved from

Capella University. (2014, December 8). 5 differences between an Associate’s and Bachelor’s Degree. Retrieved from

Grover, S. (n.d.). Differences in competencies between nurses with an Associate Degree & Baccalaureate Degree. Retrieved from

Ley, S. (n.d.). The differences between an Associate Degree vs. a Bachelor’s Degree for a Registered Nurse. SeattlePi. Retrieved from