Schools of Nursing: BSN vs. ASN

Through the BSN program, a nurse receives practical experience in many health care services. However, the ASN program only provides nurses with basic nursing skills and teaches them how to tackle common health problems. The BSN program also provides management and leadership experiences to the nurses, which the ASN program does not. ASN and BSN also differ based on educational requirements since BSN covers several extra courses on nursing that mainly focus on community nursing, management, and leadership. Apart from the normal nursing courses, which are also offered by ASN, BSN includes Nursing Leadership, Nursing Research, and Public Health. BSN also includes contemporary nursing informatics, which examines how nurses use modern technologies. Another reason why BSN is better than ASN is since a nurse with a BSN degree is also a certified Public Health Nurse or PHN, but a nurse with ASN is not a certified PHN.

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The Associate of Science in Nursing or ASN is an entry-level, 2-year tertiary nursing program that concentrates more on the technical domains rather than the theory of nursing. Students who have obtained an ASN are eligible to apply for a license to become a Registered Nurse or RN. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing or BSN is a 4-year educational degree program and is known as Pre-licensure BSN. It trains nurses in professional roles focusing mainly on coursework in nursing informatics and science, leadership, and research. The first half of the program focuses on meeting the fundamental education requirements while the latter half focuses on various nursing courses. In their first two years, the students complete the general academic demands, which include science classes and liberal arts, necessary to prepare them for the clinical work and nursing course, which they enroll in the final two years. (Ouzts et al, 2006)

The ASN program is a means of achieving a BSN or become an RN for working and earning more quickly than the BSN. However, most people prefer BSN since it provides better opportunities for them in our present job market. It is the basic point of entry for nursing professionals and leaders. The BSN program is better than the ASN since it provides the nurses with a faster route to take on supervisory roles with high salaries. Through the BSN program, a nurse receives practical experience in several health care services. However, the ASN program only provides nurses with basic nursing skills and teaches them how to tackle common health problems. In addition, when the nurses have to look for jobs most of the job postings require that the candidates have a BSN degree rather than ASN. Therefore, it helps the nurses as they can access more job opportunities.

Nurses with ASN can only give bedside care to the patients, but with a BSN degree, the nurses will be able to nurture the patients directly in a hospital and also attend to their community and family. Nurses with BSN degrees will be qualified to care for patients with advanced and complex health issues. The nurses are also taught how to stay updated by analyzing and evaluating research papers. The BSN program also provides management and leadership experiences to the nurses, which the ASN program does not. Thus, the nurses are also prepared to be managers and leaders in the future. Since the ASN program only provides fundamental knowledge, many nurses view it as a stepping-stone for achieving BSN. In addition, while ASN is offered only by community colleges and nursing schools, BSN is offered by all nursing colleges and universities, giving it an upper hand. (Megginson, 2008)

While BSN prepares nurses to take important positions in community and inpatient settings, ASN only prepares them for staff positions in the hospitals. Thus, nurses with BSN will be able to apply for and hold high administrative positions that are above regular nursing jobs, like become nurse managers. It will be almost impossible for nurses with ASN to get administrative positions and they can only do this if they have a lot of experience and seniority. ASN and BSN also differ based on educational requirements since BSN covers some extra courses on nursing that mainly focus on community nursing, management, and leadership. Apart from the normal nursing courses, which are also offered by ASN, BSN includes Nursing Leadership, Nursing Research, and Public Health. Thus, this enables the nurses to learn a lot more about various nursing theories and their history and they can study care models too. This gives the nursing students a broader concept of nursing researches and theories, which helps them in their further studies. BSN also includes contemporary nursing informatics, which examines how nurses use modern technologies. Another reason why BSN is better than ASN is since a nurse with a BSN degree is also a certified Public Health Nurse or PHN, but a nurse with ASN is not a certified PHN.

A PHN is allowed to work in private and government agencies and the health department. Most of the RN positions, especially the ones involving supervisory positions, require that the applicants have a BSN degree. ASN only provides the nurses with practical skills, but a nurse must not only be concerned about the health problems of the patient but also be able to understand the various needs of the patient. This can be achieved through the management skills provided by BSN. To prove that they are capable of handling responsible managerial roles, the nurses need to have leadership skills so that they can lead others and, at the same time, be an integral part of the team itself. Thus, they need the leadership skills provided in the BSN program. (Ouzts et al, 2006)

Thus, those nurses who prefer an academic setting and want a broader educational experience or want to work in managerial positions should directly opt for BSN. It is also evident that without a BSN degree, the complete educational process remains incomplete and these nurses after obtaining ASN have to obtain a master’s degree or BSN to work in responsible settings and expand their career further. Thus, BSN saves a lot of time for the nurses since it in itself is enough. The ASN program does not emphasize theoretical learning which the BSN program does. Thus, this is a better program for those who are more interested in acquiring theoretical knowledge since BSN has a thorough theory-based nursing syllabus. BSN not only provides the nurses with the required practical training but also the theoretical clinical components required for working in a hospital or health care facility. While ASN enables the graduate nurses to only work as general nurses and provides basic and effective nursing care to the patients, a BSN degree holder can work at any location or situation. They can work in hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, medical book publishing houses, insurance and pharmaceutical companies, psychiatric units, medical and nursing schools, home-care agencies, and even law firms. (Megginson, 2008)

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In the nursing world, people consider BSN to be an advanced degree than the ASN since it provides them with better career options and salary ranges. Although both ASN and BSN nurses start to work almost at the same levels, nurses with BSN degrees can earn more money since they have the opportunity of expanding their careers and obtaining higher and better positions. It provides them with extra skills for obtaining stature and real-life experiences so that they are aware of different working environments and can easily manage careers in nursing as well as hospital management. Nursing is such a field, which requires an individual to constantly upgrade his or her skills and rewards those having advanced skills. BSN offers more flexibility and the best job opportunities unlike ASN, which only allows nurses to provide basic patient care. Most hospital authorities prefer nurses with a BSN degree since they feel that recruiting those nurses having a 4 years bachelor’s degree is better than ones with 2 years associate degree, since not only do they have more experience and knowledge but this also considerably increases the quality of healthcare provided by them. (Wold et al, 2008)

However, it should be noted that an SN degree needs the usage of a multidisciplinary or interdisciplinary team of professionals under the aspects of Hospital Management principles and can be defined as the art of creating relations of any kind, between people engaged in the industry, such as the relationship between employers and employees, the relationship between patient parties entering into medical contracts, the relation between doctors and patient parties, etc, to maintain true cooperation of all concerned along with motivating the entire deal into a positive favor. In the context of nursing both Situational and Contingency, theories are implemented. However, these can affect the future of nursing particularly in the context of emergency or disaster planning in a hospital. BSN degree makes a nurse ready for all these aspects though it is certain that in the initial stages of service these qualities would not be needed.

Contingency theories can be enumerated, as a part of the fundamental behavioral theory with states that each situation demands a different form of nursing quality therefore there can be no fixed definition of BSN nursing. This becomes evident during emergency or disaster planning in a hospital. It can be observed that leaders, who are efficient otherwise, may falter in these situations. Nevertheless, situations like emergency or disaster planning in a hospital are a vital issue and a question of life and death. Thus, it can well be stated that contingency nursing in the context of nursing is not always beneficial and it can affect the establishment severely.

On the other hand, Situational nursing depends on situational factors. These nurses can mold themselves per the demand of the situation. The efficiency of such nurses of a multidisciplinary or interdisciplinary team of professionals lies in not only making the organizations work, but to make them work willingly, sincerely, and consciously, by employing new knowledge, new methods, new designs, new machines, and novel techniques of production and by allaying mistrust and antagonism. Situational BSN nursing training purpose takes account of several activities, and the most important among them is making a decision what staffing requirements one have and whether to use autonomous contractors or take into service employees to meet these needs, appointing and training the most excellent employees, making sure that they are better performers, handling performance-related problems, and ensuring that the human resources and administrational practices do the accepted thing to a various set of laws. However, it should be noted that such leaders are very hard to find and it is not always that proper training would prepare a person into an effective situational leader. Furthermore, situational leaders are not always specialists in all situations. A BSN-trained nurse may be an expert in dealing with emergency or disaster planning in a hospital but the same person may prove inefficient while carrying out the day-to-day operations. Thus, the entire situation may affect the fundamentals of the establishment as a whole.

The increasing significance of competitive advantage and the growing presence of multinationals has resulted in noticeable changes in the sector of nursing professionals’ ideologies. Globalization has led employers to push for the implementation of fewer directives of industrial relations, less standardization of the employment affiliations, and a greater focus on the workplace as the center of gravity of nursing. Under such conditions, none of the models, prove to be fully proofed and both can be ramifying for a hospital if a mixture of the two models is not instrumented. As for now, it can be stated that nursing of a multidisciplinary or interdisciplinary team of professionals can be developed instead of specific Situational and Contingency nursing. (Wold et al, 2008)

Therefore, we see that although in a broader approach BSN has very little initial advantage it is beneficial since it provides the nurses with better and ample job opportunities. This also gives them an upper hand since they can decide on changing their line of work after working for some time to take on more responsible positions. Not only are nurses with BSN degrees preferred for administrative positions but also in pharmaceuticals, education, research, and quality control, to name a few. BSN is also better for those nurses who are unsure about their future and do not have a fixed plan since it provides them with more opportunities than ASN does. If the nurses are looking forward to obtaining advanced nursing degrees then they should first get a BSN. It helps them more than ASN to prepare for higher-level education and even NCLEX-RN since, unlike ASN, which focuses on technical details, BSN, focuses both on theory and practical knowledge, equally. Unlike ASN, BSN also prepares the nurses for advanced degree courses, like nurse anesthetist or nurse practitioner.

References

Megginson, L.A. (2008). BSN education: 21st century barriers and incentives. Journal of Nursing Management. 16(1), 47-55.

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Ouzts, K.N. Watson, J. Brown, C. Swearingen, A.D. (2006). Developing Public Health Competence Among RN-to-BSN Students in a Rural Community. Public Health Nursing. 23(2), 178-182.

Wold, S.J. Brown, C.M. Chastain, C.E. Griffis, M.D. Wingate, J. (2008). Going the Extra Mile: Beyond Health Teaching to Political Involvement. Nursing Forum. 43(4), 171-176.

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