Posted: March 16th, 2022

Nursing For an Associate Degree Term Paper



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For an Associate Degree in Nursing


This essay focuses on the current educational levels available in the professional nursing arena. This work therefore focuses on proposing a minimal level offering that should be required to be taken for the Registered Nurse boards for an associate degree level. The essay should be considered as a recommendation to the State of Connecticut Licensure Board. We are at a time of crisis in the nursing profession and new educational standards may be the only solution for the future. Throughout our modern day circumstances, we have developed a crisis driven healthcare system, hospital downsizings, restructuring of whole systems or even complete system failures. These are but a few of the many issues healthcare professionals now face. These types of phenomena coupled with a plethora of other calamities have led to a great deal of upheaval, especially in the nursing community. Nursing shortages, union concerns, on-purpose short staff cost reductions and associated pressures of these staffing shortages continue to have the nursing community searching for solutions to our current and future staffing shortfalls.


All of these concerns coupled with other issues will eventually reduce the overall quality nurses are able to provide for the care of their patients. The nursing profession is also an aging system where older more experienced nurses are leaving the system in droves but the profession is having difficulty replacing those who have exited. “Largely because of current conditions, veteran nurses are leaving the field and potential new entrants are being discouraged from joining the profession. Just as the population is aging and in need of more nursing care, the nation now faces a new nursing shortage.” (Gordon) it will be an important function of the current licensure board to adopt new standards that will both maintain high levels of professionalism in the nursing field but also to promote the profession to a younger generation that has not taken to the field in the same way that previous generations have.


Recommendation for an Associate Degree in Nursing would highly recommend that the State of Connecticut Licensure Board recognize a new RN Associate Degree in Nursing in order to help recruit more potential nurses into the field as well as to promote qualified individuals who have already attained the level of LPN. This type of educational approach would greatly increase the number of opportunities and therefore dramatically raise the quality and access to nursing as a profession.


Further, an RN Associate Degree in Nursing could increase the collaborative efforts of nursing faculties in teaching, practice, and research as well as enhance our profession’s ability to educate nurses for practice, prepare future nurse educators, and advance nursing science at a time when the number of professional nurses, qualified nurse faculty and nurse researchers is dwindling.


Many other professions that have similar standards and levels of professionalism have reduced the time it takes to accomplish licensure status. The nursing profession should follow suit so as to not to allow our current long educational process to drive away more potential candidates. We as a profession should be looking to our leader’s to develop a condensed yet detail oriented RN Associates program.


This program should model the positive aspects of existing nursing leaders, provide a well defined foundation of professional expectations, and offer insights into a healthy communication process required by the vocation. The key would be, however, to take full advantage of the current trends in technology so that the program provides flexibility through reduced complexity early on with a gradual increase in training as experience is gained.


Problem Faced by the Nursing Profession


One would think that the high cost associated with successfully recruiting, training and then retaining qualified nurses would have nursing schools paying close attention to the many reasons why our profession has been losing out when it comes to new nursing students. In general, the inherent personalities of people who enter the nursing profession usually have a strong sense of duty. Our community is an environment where quality of patient care is the driving factor. The nursing industry is obviously a very caring society first and an economic industry second.


Because Nursing programs are not prepared for the potential twenty-first century student, they will not be able to provide enough potential nurses for an appropriate staffing mix that will continue to produce high levels of care. Attention has to be paid to the aspects of today’s potential nurse. The system will continue to need more registered nurses and registered practical nurses throughout the medical facilities and the healthcare system can not wait long.


There continues to be a direct correlation between the number of medication errors, infections and an overall lower perception of the quality of care when there is a lower count of registered nurses in a system. The Associate level Program would therefore help reduce the time it takes to get more nurses into the system and therefore increase the satisfaction ratings for the care provided.


If Not Accepted


The United States healthcare system currently includes health plans, physicians, hospitals, clinics, consumers, and public health programs and of course – Nurses. As the median age of our nation’s population continues to rise, more and more Americans will need the services provided by our healthcare system. If nurses are in short supply, the obvious will happen.


The current nursing shortages have been clearly demonstrated by our media system. The message is that the nursing industry has some major gaps to fill. “Analysis identified that organizational commitment is most related to personal factors, opportunities for learning, job satisfaction, plan for retirement, monetary benefits, patient care, coworkers, cultural factors, and job security, in that order. Lack of organizational commitment is most related to conflict with personal needs. However, lack of learning, lack of appreciation and fairness, inadequate monetary benefits, patient care situations, poor relations with coworkers, career developmental stage, and lack of job security are also discussed.” (McNeese-Smith) With the vast amounts of recruitment and retention problems in the industry, the system will only get worse as our population ages.


The current crisis is only getting worse. As has been the case for decades, demand for nurses and other skilled healthcare employees will increase but the aging workforce will reduce the supply. Baby Boomers nearing retirement will literally make the census less as fewer people will be available to get the job done. “Therefore, healthcare administrators must work harder to promote and develop methods for building organizational commitment among nurses, and among other clinicians, before that imminent shortage occurs.” (McNeese-Smith)


There are multiple factors working against the healthcare industry. First, as mentioned, the population has been shown to be an aging group that is not going to be able to simply go out and replenish its numbers with newer nurses. and, even with the forecasted predictions, the industry has still been slow to build bench strength in nursing schools as current nurses are now nearing retirement age.


Like many other industries, the existing healthcare management teams have been forced to try to do more but with a whole lot less. “As administrators consider the enormous costs of turnover and a limited supply of nurses, they should create effective strategies for retaining long-term affective commitment of skilled nurses.”(McNeese-Smith)


Describe the characteristics of a workable solution.


To take full advantage of a minimum level of education for the Registered Nurse boards at the associate degree level, several factors need to be addressed by both the nursing community as well as the licensure boards including the leaders in education and health care institutions and other stakeholders such as external funding policy makers.


The associate program would need to provide superior RN courses and therefore provide an equivalent level of professionalism and expertise in the core nursing program. This can be achieved through the use of modern technology and other twenty-first century teaching and education programs including incorporation of substantial governmental, health system and public and private institutional financial investment in equipment, infrastructure, and faculty development.


As the old oil change commercial promotes, ‘you can pay me know or you can pay me later.’ Basically, an RN Associates program would require an overhaul of the existing nurse educational process similar to a manufacturing environment implementing a Six Sigma quality process. Every aspect of the existing nursing education process most be evaluated to first eliminate unnecessary courses and processes and replace them with sound core teachings in a modern approach to teaching and education.


Technology will ease the burden for an Associates program. This initiative would require local, regional, and state wide planning so that all of the states’ nursing programs would be in communication through a multi-site communication process. This would ensure that each program was meeting the minimum requirements of the state licensing board as well as being able to establish coordination of services, compatibility and progressive upgrading of information and professional policies.


The use of technology such as Web-based media also promotes educational dialogue throughout the system further enhancing the minimal level of education. Technology-based teaching strategies can greatly accelerate the how both teaching and learning occur and therefore often reduce traditional issues and concerns faced by students and instructors. This approach changes the conventional way of thinking about how quality nursing programs are assessed and changes the levels of requirements to better suit student learning with better access to libraries, counseling and tutoring services, computing equipment, tuition, and financial aid to name a few.


But where this Associates Degree approach will benefit the profession most is in the healthcare system where it is needed most. New nurses will be better acclimated to the needs of sophisticated logging processes, medical billing and inventory as well as scheduling and other tasks now all handled via digital processing and computer. A modern day nurses are more technologically sophisticated, the overall patient care process also gets better as more available free time is offered back to the patient directly.


Shorter programs will be a boom with individuals who choose family first and career second. It is far more likely for a mother to choose a two-year program over a four-year program when the children are out of the home. Mothers already have the inherent skill set of motherly instinct and hands on training and only the educational aspects of the nursing profession are needed. This type of short detailed teaching approach would therefore be a very applicable tool for recruiting new nurses of all ages and social backgrounds.


Discuss possible solutions to the problem.


There are many solutions available in the sense of creating an Associates Degree for the RN nursing process. This report analyzes three solutions and of the three will choose one. The first solution is to completely start over when creating a program. This solution entails getting the best minds in the profession and starting from scratch.


By doing this, the process may experience all new growing pains but would be very modern at the least. A second approach would be to have two processes, a completely new system that runs in conjunction with the existing educational process. The problem with this solution is that different levels of education may inadvertently be created. In other words, when a standard is changed in one but not the second, two different levels of standardization may occur and thus affect the licensing process.


A third solution, and one we recommend is that the existing process be evaluated utilizing some standardization from the modern business industries of manufacturing. As previously mentioned, the Six Sigma process is an excellent tool for evaluating existing processes and thereby creating alternative solutions from the previous version. In the business world, quality can be defined as the total of features and characteristics of a product or service. With Six Sigma, an organization focuses on continuous improvement of their quality. This would be accomplished in an RN Associates Degree program by understanding various needs of patients, the healthcare and nursing systems as a whole as well as the existing educational and licensing processes. For Six Sigma, a statistical measure of variation is equivalent to 99.9997% defect free. Every process can be characterized by:


Average performance, (X bar) and Inherent variation, (Sigma). Chart generated

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