A COMPARISON OF THE SOCIAL BENEFITS OF ASSOCIATE DEGREE AND BACCALAUREATE DEGREE NURSING PROGRAMS IN PENNSYLVANIA
The purpose of this study was to compare the social benefits of education, research and public service in associate and baccalaureate degree nursing programs. Social benefits of education were defined as the success of the graduates of associate and baccalaureate degree nursing programs in passing the State Board Examination and the perceived demand for both types of graduates in the employment market. Social benefits of research and public service were defined as the number of activities in each of these areas that accrue to society from efforts of faculties of associate and baccalaureate degree nursing programs.^ Five questionnaires were developed and pretested. One questionnaire measured the performance of nursing graduates on the State Board Examination and was mailed to all National League for Nursing (NLN) accredited associate and baccalaureate degree nursing programs in Pennsylvania. A second questionnaire measured perceived market demand for graduates of both types of programs and was mailed to 236 hospitals. This represented all of the hospitals in Pennsylvania with a general medical-surgical service which are accredited by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Hospitals (JCAH). The same questionnaire was mailed to all 126 home health care agencies certified by the State of Pennsylvania. Three additional questionnaires measuring research and public service activities of faculty were mailed to all NLN accredited associate and baccalaureate degree nursing programs in Pennsylvania.^ Results of the study indicated no statistically significant differences between the success of graduates of associate and baccalaureate degree nursing programs on the State Board Examination for the years 1976 through 1978. The study findings indicated a clear perceived preference in the employment market for graduates of baccalaureate degree nursing (BSN) programs over graduates of associate degree (ADN) nursing programs. The finding was true for small, medium sized and large hospitals and for home health agencies. Application of the Wilcoxon matched pairs signed ranks test indicated that the perceived preference for graduates of BSN programs to fill currently vacant and projected future vacancies in registered nurse positions was statistically significant at the p < .001 level. The results of the study also indicated a significantly greater number of research (p < .005), scholarship (p < .001) and public service activities (p < .002) from BSN programs compared to those from ADN programs when the t-test was applied to the data results.^ In conclusion, there appears to be a greater benefit to society from the educational function of BSN programs than from ADN programs since there is no significant difference in the success of either type of nursing graduate on the present State Board Examination but there is a strong perceived current and predicted market demand for BSN graduates. The results of the study also indicate a significantly greater number of research, scholarship and public service activities accruing to society from efforts of BSN faculties compared to ADN faculties. While the number of these activities are statistically significant when compared, the differences are not significant practically. Additionally the overall total number of research scholarship and public service activities reported by faculty members in the study is low. ^
DOROTHY ANN BROOTEN,
"A COMPARISON OF THE SOCIAL BENEFITS OF ASSOCIATE DEGREE AND BACCALAUREATE DEGREE NURSING PROGRAMS IN PENNSYLVANIA"
(January 1, 1980).
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