Foundations of Nursing Education Research Paper

Excerpt from Research Paper :

Changing from an Associate Degree Nursing Program to a BSN Program

While both the Associate degree nursing program and the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program will lead one to become a registered nurse (RN), the BSN program does provide nursing students with more exposure to the kind of training, knowledge, skills and experience that can be very useful to RNs in a real world nursing environment. The Associate degree nursing program, on the other hand, is a very limited program that does not utilize all the possibilities for deepening the nursing student’s knowledge of and appreciation for the various nursing concepts that are need in today’s nursing industry. For example, an Associate degree nursing program will not spend as much time focusing on the importance of evidence-based practice in nursing as will a BSN program. Or, an Associate degree nursing program will not spend as much time as a BSN program will providing students with simulation opportunities so that they can strengthen their nursing skills in a controlled environment before stepping into a live format where decisions can be a matter of life and death. For that reason, changing from an Associate degree nursing program to a BSN program is the recommended route for nurses today.

Two Factors That Influence the Need for a BSN Program

Two factors that influence the need for a BSN program are 1) social and 2) economical, as Khawaja (2015) has noted. The social factor that influences the need is the reality that BSN programs provide students with more choice in terms of how to apply their human capital. An Associate degree nursing program only gives nursing students a limited option and range in terms of what they can do over the course of their nursing career. However, the BSN program sets nursing students up with a firm foundation upon which a policy of lifelong learning can be built.

Moreover, nurses who enter into a BSN program come out with greater range and depth of training that prepares them to provide higher quality of life (both economically and socially) for themselves as they pursue their career in nursing and a higher level of quality care to a diverse set of patients. A BSN program might offer student nurses courses in community nursing, pediatrics, psychosocial nursing, and so on—all of which give nurses a better preparation for addressing the needs of patients and for building a solid base of nursing knowledge that can be used to pursue higher caliber careers in nursing. Additionally, the more education an RN has, the more critical that RN is to a country’s health: that nurse will be able to offer care in a range of settings (Kirschling, 2017), which thereby provides social and economical support to the nation’s infrastructure (Well, 2007). Thus, there are both social and economical factors that tell the need for a BSN program.

How the IOM Has Informed the Decision for a BSN Program

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) has informed the decision for a BSN program by promoting the “Future of Nursing,” which advocates for increased education for nurses. The IOM (2010) recommends that the percentage of nurses with a BSN reach 80% by 2020. Another of its goals is for the number of nurses with a PHD double by 2020. These goals cannot be reached without more BSN programs giving student nurses more opportunities to advance their education.

IOM’s Recommendations for Guiding the Integration of Quality and Safety Initiatives in the New BSN Program

The IOM (2010) recommends that in order for quality and safety initiatives to be integrated in the BSN program, there should be more focus on evidence-based practice, collaborative practice, teamwork, and how technological tools can help create an environment of top-notch quality care. In following these recommendations, it is expected that nurses will be able to practice to the full extent of their education in serving their communities and provide safe, quality care to patients.

Rationale for the Recommendation

The IOM (2010) cites high turnover rates among nurses resulting from a lack of transition-to-practice residency programs and a lack of education and training for student nurses. Associate degree nursing programs do not offer enough opportunities for nurses to prepare for the real-world challenges that await them in today’s health care facilities where patients present with a complex array of health problems. Nurses who obtain a higher level of education are in a position to help patients with a higher complexity of issues. The more education and training a nurse has
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with evidence-based practice, collaborative care, teamwork, and technology, the more likely the nurse will be able to supply quality, safe care to patients no matter what their condition, and the less likely the nurse will be to commit errors on the job.

One Possible Barrier

One possible barrier to the implementation of the IOM’s recommendation is that establishing an environment in which multiple opportunities for education exists has been made difficult at the federal level. For example, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) “has long targeted anti-competitive conduct in the health care market, including restrictions on the business practices of health care providers” (IOM, 2010, p. 2). The FTC must eliminate policies that restrict healthy competition in the health care field, which limits student nurses’ options in terms of obtaining higher levels of education and disinclines professionals from pursuing pathways to being educators. In order for a BSN program to be fully efficient, it requires having access to a sufficient pool of nursing educators. Therefore, it is important for stakeholders at local, regional, state and federal levels to communicate with nursing educators and nurse professionals to ensure that the student nurses’ potential is not limited by federal trade rules. The more that nurse professionals, nurse educators, and nursing students work together to create the best possible learning environment, the more likely the recommendations of the IOM are to be implemented.

Learning Theory to Support the Development of Critical Thinking Skills in the New BSN Program

The humanistic theory of learning puts the student at the center of the learning process. It is based on the work of Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow. Rogers (1951) stated that the person-centered approach was the most efficient because it offered “the best vantage point for understanding behavior is from the internal frame of reference of the individual” (p. 495). Likewise, Maslow’s (1943) hierarchy of needs identified key components within a needs paradigm that must be met before an individual can become self-actualizing.

Two Advantages of the Theory

Two advantages of the humanistic theory are: 1) it provides a student-centered approach to learning that focuses on the needs of the individual student, and 2) it provides the basis for adequate motivation, relationship-building, communication, and self-efficacy (Halstead, 2007).

Two Disadvantages of the Theory

Two disadvantages of the humanistic theory of learning are 1) that it places too much emphasis of the subjective experience, and 2) that it assumes too positive a perspective of human behavior. At some point students must be required to engage in simulations, pass assessments, and show critical thinking skills regardless of the challenges they face personally (Halstead, 2007). Just as the teacher may adopt a student-centered approach, the student must adopt a subject-centered approach. Self-centeredness is not conducive to learning.

Key Components of Authentic Learning That Can Inform the Development of the New BSN Curriculum

The key components of authentic learning are: 1) the opportunity to engage with real-world problems that allow students to participate in the work that actual professionals encounter; 2) the opportunity to engage in critical thinking activities that promote cognitive development via simulation exercises; 3) the opportunity to engage with other learners in a real community; 4) the opportunity to empower students by supporting the development of their will through student choice (Rule, 2006). These key components of authentic learning can inform the development of the new BSN curriculum by providing it with a framework for approaching nursing students over the course of a 4-year program.

One Advantage of Authentic Learning in the New BSN Program

One advantage of this theory is that is enables teachers to provide students with the kind of real-world experience they require in order to be ready to enter into the nursing profession. As a result of authentic learning experiences in the BSN program, nursing turnover rates could be reduced and the nursing field could experience more stability and greater growth.

One Disadvantage of Authentic Learning in the New BSN Program

One disadvantage of authentic learning in the new BSN program is that every student has a unique learning method—and so authentic learning might not appeal to all students (Halstead, 2007). Some students might find the approach to be poorly organized, planned and executed and may benefit from a more traditional method of learning.

Two Current Modalities for Delivery: Traditional Classroom Learning and Online…

Sources Used in Documents:


ANA. (2015). Code of ethics for nurses. Retrieved from

Appana, S. (2008). A review of benefits and limitations of online learning in the context of the student, the instructor, and the tenured faculty. International Journal on E-Learning, 7(1), 5-22.

Halstead, J. (2007). Nurse Educator Competencies: Creating an Evidence-Based Practice for Nurse Educators. New York, NY: National League for Nursing.

IOM. (2010). The future of nursing. Retrieved from

Khawaja, M. (2015). Economic and social factors behind the choice of medical profession by Saudi female students: An applied study at Qassim University. Journal of Administrative and Economics Science, 9(1), 1-20.

Kirschling, J. (2017). Well educated RNs are critical to country’s future. Retrieved from

LaVelle, M., LaVelle, B., Port, K., Sherlock, J. (2015). Copyright law basics for the nursing professional. Journal for Nurses in Professional Development, 31(5), 252-257.

Maslow, A. H. (1943). A theory of human motivation. Psychological Review, 50(4), 370.

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