N108: Transition to the Registered Professional Nurse Role Study Guide Associate degree programs are generally two-year programs and are based in junior colleges or universities. Graduates of these programs have less clinical experience than the graduates of diploma programs. The 1965 paper “A Position Paper on Educational Preparation for Nurse Practitioners and Assistants to Nurses” advocated that nursing education be given in institutions of higher learning and that these programs prepare technical (AD) nurses as well as professional (BSN) nurses. This paper from the ANA boosted support for AD programs. Associate degree schools took married, male, part-time students and students returning to school. In contrast, diploma programs had dorms for students, mandatory study hours, and significantly more control over student’s lives. Four events influenced the beginning of associate degree nursing education: • These programs followed in the wake of the organization and growth of two-year community colleges and offered the first two years of a traditional four-year college program. They also offered technical and vocational programs, making some form of college education accessible to everyone. • The cadet nurse program demonstrated that qualified students could be educated adequately in less than the traditional three years of the diploma program. • The development of the associate degree education was influenced by the studies conducted on nursing education in the United States. • The critical nursing shortage of the 1950s occurred because nurses employed during WW II returned home to raise families. It was anticipated that the two-year program would put graduates into the work market more quickly, thus helping to reduce the shortage while, at the same time, helping to move nursing education into the overall system of higher education in the United States. In a typical program, approximately 40% of the credits needed for the associate degree must be fulfilled by general education courses such as English, anatomy, physiology, speech, psychology, and sociology. The rest are to be fulfilled by nursing courses. Baccalaureate Degree Programs In 1909, the first BSN program was established at the University of Minnesota. Today there are over 500 programs nationwide located in colleges and universities. These programs include those that take students with no nursing education and RN or BSN programs in which students are already RNs. Graduates have approximately the same clinical experience as associate degree students. The ANA considers BSN graduates to be the more educated professional nurses. The curriculum includes courses in subjects other than nursing and science, such as humanities and liberal arts.