Online Companion: Fundamentals of Nursing Standards and Practice 2E
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
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.