CONTEMPORARY NURSING PRACTICE NRS 430
Nursing practice has changed over the decades from when nurses had minimal education to having complex nursing training programs and when nurses provided basic care to performing complex medical and nursing procedures. Nursing was initially a woman’s work where women cared for the sick at home in the era where there were no hospitals (Egenes, 2017). Modern nursing is attributed to Florence Nightingale, who developed nursing practices that created new standards for nursing practice. In this regard, this paper will discuss the evolution of nursing practice, the differences between ADN and BSN nurses, and the significance of evidence-based practice in nursing.
Evolution of Nursing Practice
Nurses were formerly not provided formal nursing education but were instead given on-job training on how to provide basic care such as clean and dress wounds. They did not have autonomy and received instructions from physicians. As the nursing practice evolved and more hospitals were established, women began receiving nursing training in small to medium-size hospital systems (Egenes, 2017). However, the training was observation-based, taking two to three years, and the scientific rationale for interventions was not emphasized.
Advances in medicine and technology created a need for complex and specialized nursing education. As a result, nursing training shifted from hospital observation to the classroom. Certification programs have been created, changing the scope of nursing practice (Egenes, 2017). Nurses also have Master’s and Doctorate levels, which increase a nurse’s scope of practice to include duties similar to physicians such as taking history and physical exams, making diagnoses, interpreting diagnostic results, and initiating treatment plans. Furthermore, standards of nursing practice have been created to ensure quality nursing care, and nurses are educated on ethical practice and providing culturally sensitive care.
Practice Competencies between an Associate and Baccalaureate Education in Nursing
Nurses with an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) and with a Baccalaureate Degree (BSN) are both registered nurses (RNs). Both BSN and ADN programs prepare nursing students to deliver patient care that meets the set standards. Besides, both programs equip the future RN with nursing skills and ensure they attain the clinical practice competencies necessary for nursing practice (Northrup-Snyder et al., 2017). However, the BSN program emphasizes more on areas of informatics and research. It also has courses not offered in the ADN program, such as nursing theories, social sciences, public health, leadership, and management. The differences in the ADN and BSN training result in differences in the scope of practice. ADN RNs are generally more focused on technical, clinical duties and everyday direct patient care, including monitoring patients, administering treatment, performing basic nursing procedures, and updating charts (Ghaffari, 2017). On the other hand, the scope of BSN nurses includes nursing educator, research, public health, administrative, leadership, management roles, and direct patient care.
Approaches to Decision-Making in a Patient Care Situation of a BSN vs.ADN
Approaches to decision‐making would differ in a BSN and ADN nurse caring for a diabetic patient with uncontrolled sugars and a worsening foot ulcer. An ADN nurse will care for the patient by providing basic care such as dressing the wound, administering insulin or hypoglycemics, and monitoring blood sugar levels. Conversely, the BSN nurse will perform these tasks but get concerned about the uncontrolled sugars and delayed wound healing. As a result, the BSN will assess the patient’s diet and exercise patterns and educate the patient on the needed changes to promote optimal glycemic levels. Besides, the nurse will apply evidence-based interventions to promote healing of the ulcer and educate the patient on foot care.
Applying Evidence‐Based Practice to Nursing Care
In the past decades, evidence-based practice (EBP) has become a key element of excellent patient care. EBP is applied in various aspects of nursing as it offers valuable insight into clinical care approaches backed by evidence to address issues in direct patient care, infection control, and patient workflow (Mackey & Bassendowski, 2017). It enables nurses to apply the latest research methods in the patient care setting, including direct patient care. It focuses on established outcomes, thus promoting enhanced patient care. The BSN program equips students with knowledge and skills on EBP, which helps to analyze patient care approaches that can improve health outcomes (Mackey & Bassendowski, 2017). Students are trained on scientific research, gathering, and analyzing evidence, which they apply to establish the best patient care interventions.
Interdisciplinary Communication and Collaboration in Nursing Practice
Nurses today are part of the interdisciplinary teams and play a major role in developing patients’ care plans. Nurses communicate with the interdisciplinary teams using CUS and SBAR protocols. CUS is an acronym for Concerned, Uncomfortable, and Safety. It is a communication tool used by nurses to express concerns to the interdisciplinary team about changes in a patient’s health status respectfully and professionally. The SBAR protocol representing situation, background, assessment, and recommendations is used by nurses when having a clinical problem that needs to be conveyed to the team (Müller et al., 2018). Communication using the SBAR protocol is usually purposive, straight, and prepared and promotes information exchange between the nurse and the team. The CUS and SBAR protocols foster quality and safe patient care since patient information is communicated through an efficient and well-organized format.
Unlike in the past, where nurses conducted similar tasks, nurses’ scope today is determined by their level of education and the specialized courses they have undertaken. Both BSN and ADN nurses have the same licensing level; however, some of their roles are different. ADNs focus on technical, clinical duties, while BSNs focuses on research, management, leadership, and informatics. Nurses need to communicate accurately, succinctly, and purposeful with the interdisciplinary teams to promote collaborative care.
Egenes, K. J. (2017). History of nursing. Issues and trends in nursing: Essential knowledge for today and tomorrow, 1-26.
Ghaffari, M. (2017). Preparing Nurses for Community Health Care: A Comparative Study of the ADN and BSN Programs. International Journal, 5(2), 32-45. https://doi.org/10.18488/journal.9.2018.52.32.45
Mackey, A., & Bassendowski, S. (2017). The history of evidence-based practice in nursing education and practice. Journal of Professional Nursing, 33(1), 51-55. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.profnurs.2016.05.009
Northrup-Snyder, K., Menkens, R. M., & Dean, M. (2017). Student competency perceptions from associate degree to bachelor degree completion. Journal of Nursing Education, 56(10), 581-590. https://doi.org/10.3928/01484834-20170918-02
Müller, M., Jürgens, J., Redaèlli, M., Klingberg, K., Hautz, W. E., & Stock, S. (2018). Impact of the communication and patient hand-off tool SBAR on patient safety: a systematic review. BMJ open, 8(8), e022202. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2018-022202
The field of nursing has changed over time. In a 750‐1,000 word paper, discuss nursing practice today by addressing the following:
- Explain how nursing practice has changed over time and how this evolution has changed the scope of practice and the approach to treating the individual.
- Compare and contrast the differentiated practice competencies between an associate and baccalaureate education in nursing. Explain how scope of practice changes between an associate and baccalaureate nurse.
- Identify a patient care situation and describe how nursing care, or approaches to decision‐making, differ between the BSN‐prepared nurse and the ADN nurse.
- Discuss the significance of applying evidence‐based practice to nursing care and explain how the academic preparation of the RN‐BSN nurse supports its application.
- Discuss how nurses today communicate and collaborate with interdisciplinary teams and how this supports safer and more effective patient outcomes.
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