The Right

The Impact of Education on Nursing Practice
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| See also the press release and talking points on the Aiken study|

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), the national voice for baccalaureate and graduate nursing programs, believes that education has a significant impact on the knowledge and competencies of the nurse clinician, as it does for all health care providers.   Nurses with Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degrees are well-prepared to meet the demands placed on today's nurse.   BSN nurses are prized for their skills in critical thinking, leadership, case management, and health promotion, and for their ability to practice across a variety of inpatient and outpatient settings. Nurse executives, federal agencies, the military, leading nursing organizations, health care foundations, magnet hospitals, and minority nurse advocacy groups all recognize the unique value that baccalaureate-prepared nurses bring to the practice setting.

AACN encourages employers to capitalize on the education and experience provided by the varied educational programs leading to the registered nurse (RN) designation by using these nurses in different capacities.   We also encourage BSN graduates to seek out employers who value their level of education and distinct competencies.

Different Approaches to Nursing Education
There are three routes to becoming a registered nurse: a 3-year diploma program typically administered in hospitals; a 3-year associate degree usually offered at community colleges; and the 4-year baccalaureate degree offered at senior colleges and universities.   Graduates of all three programs sit for the same NCLEX-RNĀ© licensing examination.

Baccalaureate nursing programs encompass all of the course work taught in associate degree and diploma programs plus a more in-depth treatment of the physical and social sciences, nursing research, public and community health, nursing management, and the humanities....