Breakthrough Thinking: A Model to Differentiate ADN and BSN Education

Saturday, 7 November 2015: 3:55 PM

Sharon K. Kumm, MN, RN, MS, CNE
School of Nursing, University of Kansas, Kansas City, KS, USA

Nursing faculty at an academic medical center revised the traditional BSN curriculum based on five themes:  (1) Communication/Professionalism, (2) Leadership, (3) Nursing across the Lifespan, (4) Evidence-based Practice/Quality Improvement and (5) Populations Health.  A Q-sort methodology was used to match baccalaureate outcomes to the themes and a model was developed based on the proportion of outcomes per theme. The model informed the pre-licensure nursing program, but was not useful in the post-licensure program due to time constraints.

To revise the model for the post-licensure program, faculty turned to our community college partners. The university has a partnership agreement with the 18 public community colleges with associate degree nursing programs.  Originally developed as a means to communicate information about academic progression effectively, the partnership enabled us to explore what is taught in accredited ADN programs.  A mixed methods research project design was used to determine which, if any, of the baccalaureate outcomes were met in ADN programs throughout the state.  Findings revealed that 42 of the 109 (38%) baccalaureate outcomes were met by 80% of the accredited ADN programs and these outcomes fell into the categories of Nursing Across the Lifespan and Professional Identity/Communication.  These outcomes match the nursing role of provider of care.

Matching these research findings and the evidence from earlier five themes yielded a new model for differentiating what is taught in each program. This model can help faculty design and evaluate pre- and post-licensure nursing programs.  Differentiating ADN and BSN education will allow for smoother academic progression by eliminating redundancy.  The model has been used to develop concurrent ADN and BSN programs.

At the conclusion of the research effort with the associate degree colleagues, a dialogue began about a shared curriculum model in which students could choose an ADN or a BSN track and stay in his/her own home area to complete one or both degrees. The model provided faculty a common language upon which to build.  The concurrent curriculum is being piloted with a few community college partners and more are expected to follow in future semesters.

Faculty will learn how the model was developed and how it can be used in curriculum development in a variety of programs.