A comparison of self perceptions of professionalism of graduates of diploma, associate degree, and articulated BSN/RN programs

Date of Completion

January 1995


Health Sciences, Education|Health Sciences, Nursing|Education, Higher




A growing number of Associate Degree (ADN) and Diploma (DI) nurses are returning to academic settings to pursue the professional credential. The faculty in articulated Bachelor's of Nursing for Registered Nurse (BSN/RN) programs that educate the registered nurse (RN) are concerned with the development of behaviors that are prerequisite for professional practice. The purpose of this study was to determine if there is a perceived enhancement of professionalism derived by ADN/DI nurses as a result of the BSN/RN experience. A random sample of 60 BSN/RN and 60 ADN/DI were surveyed. The subjects were graduates of ADN/DI and articulated BSN/RN programs in Connecticut. The return rate was 71%.^ The statistical analyses used were analysis of covariance and two group discriminate function. The dependent variable was cast as completers BSN/RN and noncompleters ADN/DI. Preliminary Wilks' lambda univariate F tests and post-hoc chi square tests were also used. Analysis of covariance was conducted on the Schwirian Six Dimension Scale, Lawler's modification of Corwin's Nursing Role Conception and Lawler's modification of Stone's Health Care Professional Attitude Inventory. Controlling for age, significant differences at the.05 level were found between the groups on the subscales of critical care, professional development, ideal professional role conception, consumer control and critical attitude thinking. No significant differences were found between the groups on the individual subscales leadership, teaching/learning, evaluation/planning, credentialism, super ordinate, compassion and impatience/change.^ Each inventory was further subjected to a discriminate function analysis. Preliminary Wilks' lambda univariate F tests were also conducted. A number of variables were found to be good predictors of group membership BSN/RN. These variables were: critical care, professional development, critical attitude thinking, consumer control, degree not essential to professional practice, degree essential to employment, promotion based on technical competence, BSN minimum for employment, nursing sets practice standards, clinical practice based on theory, and journal reading and participation in continuing education.^ The findings of this study did not answer the core research question because not all of the subscales were significant. Therefore, the null hypotheses were accepted. However, if the subscales for each of the instruments were addressed individually, the study suggests that baccalaureate preparation is requisite for professional nursing practice. ^