Competencies of Baccalaureate-Degree Nurses

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Competencies of Baccalaureate-Degree Nurses As health care becomes more complex and clinical knowledge expands, nurses must have the appropriate educational groundwork to competently perform their job. As the delivery of care to the community becomes more complex, the old adage of a nurse simply being a bedside caregiver has evolved. More emphasis must be placed on coordinated health care, including health promotion, maintenance, and affordable managed care. In an effort to provide community-based health care outside the inpatient hospital setting, health maintenance organizations, community health, outpatient centers, home, public schools, and nursing centers were developed (American Association of Colleges of Nursing, 1998). These developments command higher educated nurses to work in environments with an advanced skill-set so as to operate independently with regards to clinical decision-making and case management. Such responsibilities encompass delegation skills in addition to organizing medical care across multiple settings. Consequently, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) identifies “the Bachelor of Science degree in nursing as the minimum educational requirement for professional nursing practice” (AACN, 2000, para. 2). Contrary to a nurse with an associate degree, a nurse with a baccalaureate degree is outfitted to work in all health care settings. The curriculum of the BSN program incorporates “clinical, scientific, decision-making, and humanistic skills” (Van de Mortel & Bird, 2010). These skills help prepare the nurse for health in the community, educating patients, nursing management and governance. Furthermore, BSN nurses create and tailor an extensive care plan for the patient’s length of stay. The AACN expresses that “associate-degree nurses function primarily at the bedside in less complex patient care situations, and…...

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