Online Companion: Fundamentals of Nursing Standards and Practice 2E

Frequently Asked Questions


What is the difference between associate degree education and the baccalaureate degree program in preparing for practice as a registered nurse?

The associate degree program is designed to be completed in two years of study and is usually found as a curriculum in a community college. The baccalaureate degree is earned by students in a four-year college or university. The associate degree program emphasizes basic skill preparation for nursing practice in structured clinical settings. The baccalaureate program provides the student a broad background in physical and behavioral science and in the discipline of nursing that prepares the graduate for a broad scope of practice in a variety of settings. The baccalaureate degree in nursing is a foundation for study in specialized areas of nursing at the graduate level. At this time, graduates of both types of program are eligible to take the NCLEX-RN licensure exam. The differentiation of the practice roles of these two types of nurses is a challenge the profession must face.

What changes in nursing education are recommended by the Pew Commission on Health Professions report?

In its report, the PEW Commission identified competencies needed by health care professionals to address the needs of clients. The ability to care for the community's health, to provide contemporary clinical care, to improve the health care system and to participate in a racially and culturally diverse society are among the identified competencies to be implemented by the year 2005 in health profession education. The Commission's report challenges nursing education programs to examine goals and learning activities to ensure that competencies needed for the future are addressed in the curriculum. The American Nurses Association Agenda for Health Care is in agreement with the PEW report on this point. In addition, the PEW Commission made six specific recommendations for changes in nursing education. The need to reform education for nurses in terms of clinical settings used for learning experiences, the use of interdisciplinary education, working with consumer groups to plan educational experiences are among the ideas advanced in the report. The Commission advocated funding for innovative approaches to nursing education and development of policies for numbers, distribution, and specialty mix needed in the nursing workforce preparation.

How does the nurse researcher decide what problem to study?

Every research study begins with a good question. The nurse researcher observes phenomenon in nursing practice and is curious to understand the behavior and events that relate to the phenomenon. The researcher uses the scientific approach to try to answer the question. The nurse researcher will examine current knowledge that relates to the topic; there may be other nurses who are working on the same question. The researcher may discover that the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR) has identified the question as one of its research priorities. There may be funding available to support the proposed study.