In a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, a Pennsylvania study of 168 hospitals found that post-surgical deaths were twice as high when those patients were cared by Associate Degree prepared nurses than higher degree prepared nurses. The study also cited that high nurse to patient ratios coupled with lower educational levels were the blame for thousands of deaths in hospitals across the country. The reason for the deaths is blamed on the lack of critical thinking exposure found mostly in higher degreed programs of study. In addition, at the University level, nurses are able to interact with medical students and develop the skills that are necessary in collaborate practice. Lastly, the study suggested that hospitals only hire bachelor prepared nurses or greater to increase patient safety and quality of care.
There are over 1100 Community Colleges in the country that provide post secondary education to approximately 44 percent of students in America. In an attempt to reverse the damage caused by this study the American Association of Community Colleges recently stated that the Pennsylvania study was inaccurate and that the statistical methods utilized were flawed. Community Colleges across America are outraged by this study and are fearful of major repercussions and reductions in enrollment. The AACC is launching a defensive strategy to support the Associate Degree nursing programs and their students.
Community Colleges have always prided themselves on their excellence in providing education to students who wish to obtain an Associate Degree in nursing. Community Colleges are providing an affordable alternative to costly University educations.
The timing of this study could not have come at a worse time. Our country is in the midst of a critical nursing shortage. Associated degree programs provide affordable and quality driven nursing programs that can address the nursing shortage quicker than their four-year counterparts at the University level.
The argument regarding entry level nursing has been fueled for decades as it is no secret that enrollment is down in many University-based nursing programs as enrollment continues to increase in most Community College-based nursing programs. More than 60 percent of new graduate nurses are educated in Community College-based programs offering an Associate Degree in Nursing. Those students are considered Graduate Nurses until they successful complete their State’s Nursing Certification Licensure Examination. It has been documented that the NCLEX scores of associate degree prepared nurses are no different than those students coming out of bachelor degree prepared nursing programs.
Please consider supporting your local community College nursing program in furthering their educational endeavors in the field of nursing.
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