Nursing Leadership

Nursing Leadership 21(4) November 2008 : 73-84.doi:10.12927/cjnl.2008.20289
Nursing Research

A Critical Analysis of the Benefits and Limitations of an Applied Degree in Undergraduate Nursing Education

Leigh Chapman and Dale Kirby


The purpose of this paper is to present a critical analysis of the applied degree in nursing as an alternative to collaborative models of undergraduate education delivery by different post-secondary institutions. The notion of having multiple levels of entry into nursing (Northrup et al. 2004) and the authority of colleges to award degrees in nursing (Skolnik 1994) have important practical implications for the profession. Since there is a paucity of Canadian literature about applied degrees in nursing, this paper will make an important contribution to the field of nursing education. Due to the collaborative partnerships that have emerged in many jurisdictions in order to meet the baccalaureate degree as the entry-to-practice requirement, an analysis of the Applied Degree in Nursing is relevant and timely.

The paper provides a brief history of the baccalaureate degree as the entry-to-practice requirement for nursing, along with an overview of the rationale for the baccalaureate degree from regulatory, research, academic and practice perspectives. Through an analysis of the benefits, limitations and implications of the applied degree, we conclude that this new applied baccalaureate challenges nursing's status as an academic discipline.



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