What motivates an ADN to pursue higher education? As Janine Spencer RN, PhD, states in her article published in The Journal Continuing Education of Nursing, “Expanding opportunities, raising potentials, and providing an “edge” have been prevailing themes in several studies that investigated the motivation of RNs to receive their BSN. ” (2008) The need for nurses is growing and nursing schools across the country are struggling to expand their enrollment. Healthcare delivery is changing and is becoming more complex. The need for better-educated nurses at the four-year level is increasing. Spencer, 2008) What can we do to increase the enrollments for current RN’s that hold an ADN to go back to college? Facilitating articulation agreements and not duplicating the transition of nursing courses is a great way to attract ADN’s into BSN programs. ADN on the Rise According to Spencer, “The majority of registered nurses (RNs) hold an associate’s degree. This population is increasing at a much greater rate due to the higher volume and shorter length of ADN programs. “(2008) Nurses are able to sit for the NCLEX in a shorter time than if they were to pursue their BSN.
This enables the ADN to start their career and increase their income potential much faster. ADN programs are offered at community colleges, which costs less than attending a four-year college. So what is the real difference between the two degrees? ADN nurses are equipped to come out of school with great clinical skills as well as critical thinking skills. The BSN nurse critically thinks on a higher level, is more theory based, is educated in community health nursing, leadership, and nursing research, which are all important in the practice of evidence based nursing.
Facilitation of Articulation Agreements RN’s that ponder the decision to return to school express concern about the redundancy of nursing courses. “Articulation agreements are developed with the goal of enhancing educational mobility for RNs. These agreements serve to streamline the academic experience by eliminating redundancy and wasteful excessive units and maximizing available resources. ” (2008) Currently there are three types of articulation agreements; mandated, statewide, and individual. Not all states participate in these agreements.
Mandated agreements are formal agreements mandating credit transfer between nursing programs. Statewide agreements are voluntary and collaborated between different people to enhance the educational mobility of registered nurses. Individual agreements are for states that are not part of the previous two agreements and are established between the ADN and BSN programs to determine what credits will transfer. (2008) Articulation agreements allow the ADN nurse to shift with ease to the BSN level of learning. Conclusion
Lifelong learning is mandatory for nurses to stay up to date with the increased complexity of the healthcare needs of today’s population. The needs of our patients are changing, and we must change as well in order to be prepared to serve that need. RN’s need to be able to function with more independence in clinical decision making, case management, guiding patients through maze of health care resources and providing education on treatment regimens and adoption of healthy lifestyles. By making the transition easier through articulation agreements, ADN’s can go back to college to acquire their BSN readily.
Spencer, J. , RN, PhD (2008, July). Increasing RN-BSN Enrollments: Facilitating Articulation through Curriculum Reform. The Journal of Continuing Education in Nursing, 39(7), 307-313.