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ADN vs. BSN Debate: Contemporary Nursing Practice


Nurses represent a significant element of the whole health care industry. These specialists serve as a link between patients and higher medical staff, which is essential for better patient outcomes. That is why it is necessary to draw specific attention to their training to provide these representatives of the health care system with the required skills and abilities to solve significant issues. Thus, the given paper tries to explain the evolution of nursing practice, comment on various types of education in nursing, and discuss the work of nursing with interdisciplinary teams.

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Evolution of Nursing Practice

Nursing is not a stable phenomenon, and it has changed a lot over previous years. Nurses only used to be assistants of doctors, but they are highly specialized members of the modern health care industry. This shift has resulted in the fact that more specific attention is drawn to education. Now, individuals have to pass appropriate exams to become licensed nurses. The extensive use of technology is another issue that reshapes medicine. Consequently, nurses should have the necessary skills and abilities to use technological devices and applications properly.

It is not a surprise that the information above influences nursing practice and the way how nurses treat individuals. Thus, more sophisticated education provides these medical specialists with higher freedom of action. Papandrea (2016) states that nurses can sometimes make diagnoses, administer medication, and even work autonomously. In addition to that, technology allows them to become more professional and efficient in performing their functions. Thus, this information denotes that modern nurses deal with a vast scope of practice, which helps them treat individuals timely and more accurately.

Differentiated Practice Competencies between BSN and ADN Nurses

Associate (ADN) and baccalaureate (BSN) education variants represent accessible career pathways that an individual can follow to become a Registered Nurse. The two are similar in the way that they teach nurses how to provide patients with care of decent quality. However, a closer analysis reveals the differentiated practice competencies between the BSN and ADN nurses. The main difference is represented by the fact that a specialist with an associate degree performs ordinary clinical tasks. In contrast, a Bachelor’s degree makes it possible for a nurse to deal with more sophisticated issues.

For example, an ADN nurse records medical history, uses simple medical equipment, and educates patients on diseases, while a BSN nurse’s responsibilities include nursing research, disease prevention, conflict management, and others (College for the People, 2017). Thus, the information above demonstrates that the roles of BSN and ADN nurses differ in the level of care that they distribute to patients.

Patient Care Situation

One should consider a specific patient care situation to identify how nursing care differs between the two types of nurses. It is possible to imagine that a woman with elevated blood pressure goes to the hospital. After reading her record, ADN nurses usually dispense an appropriate medication because it is what they are trained to do. If they believe that some additional measures are needed, they should describe it to a physician.

However, when it comes to BSN nurses, these specialists take more effort to improve patient outcomes. Conversation with the patient can reveal that pain is the reason for the elevated pressure. Furthermore, the woman can describe that she has some problems with her husband, and it makes her nervous. In this case, a BSN prescribes a pain relief medication to decrease the blood pressure and serves as a psychologist to offer decent services. This information denotes that a Bachelor’s degree provides nurses with advanced knowledge, skills, and abilities to improve nursing care.

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Significance of Evidence-Based Practice

Nurses should be involved in a lifelong process of education to improve their expertise, and evidence-based practice is a suitable option here. This phenomenon provides nurses with the required theoretical materials on how to handle various issues. This practice presents scientific and proved data explaining how a challenge has been successfully solved. It denotes that when a nurse wants to know what decision to make in a particular situation, it is reasonable to consider appropriate studies or records of the clinician’s expertise to find an answer.

Bachelor’s degree education supports this idea because its curriculum focuses on this practice more heavily in comparison with an associate degree. This fact has significant benefits because “bachelor’s degree RNs reported being significantly better prepared than associate degree RNs in 12 of 16 topics” (Djukic, Stimpfel, & Covner, 2019, p. 180). Thus, the academic preparation of BSN nurses proves the effectiveness of evidence-based practice.

Nurses in Interdisciplinary Teams

Nurses are integral parts of the whole health care industry, and they cooperate with other specialists. Effective communication and collaboration within interdisciplinary teams are necessary for successful patient outcomes. It refers to the fact that nurses are usually the first representatives of medical personal who become aware of patient changing conditions (Streeton et al., 2016). Thus, their task is to communicate these changes to physicians to provide them with an opportunity to assign adequate treatment. In addition to that, when nurses act as fully-fledged members of a team, it increases the safety of patients. It is so because the fact that numerous specialists follow the same strategy of providing care creates an environment of safety.


It is impossible to imagine the health care industry without nurses because these specialists perform essential functions. Their role has changed significantly because they have started dealing with more responsible tasks recently. Now, individuals can get a Bachelor’s or associate degree to become a nurse. Even though these two variants are based on the same principles of providing decent care to patients, their different focuses create nurses who specialize in various fields. Finally, nurses should know how to work with interdisciplinary teams to contribute to better patient outcomes.


College for the People (2017). ADN vs BSN debate: These are the real differences between ADN and BSN prepared nurses. Web.

Djukic, M., Stimpfel, A. W., & Covner, C. (2019). Bachelor’s degree nurse graduates report better quality and safety educational preparedness than associate degree graduates. The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety, 45(3), 180-186.

Papandrea, D. (2016). Nursing is in transformation, and that is good for nurses. Web.

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Streeton, A., Bisbey, C., O’Neill, C., Allen, D., O’Hara, S., Weinhold, M., … Grubbs, P. (2016). Improving nurse-physician teamwork: A multidisciplinary collaboration. Medsurg Nursing, 25(1), 31-34.

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