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 AACC Position Statement on Associate Degree Nursing 


Background Statement

The Board of Directors of the American Association of Community Colleges believes that the Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) provides the competencies required for educational preparation into the registered nursing profession. Among the nurses employed in 1997, over 60% graduated as Associate Degree Nurses (ADNs) from two year postsecondary community, technical or junior colleges.

A key feature that sets Associate Degree Nursing apart from other programs is the fact that Associate Degree nursing faculty can quickly incorporate the new, dynamic health care changes and reflect them in the nursing curriculum. Associate Degree Nursing programs remain on the forefront of nursing practice and successfully graduate large numbers of nurses to meet the healthcare needs of the public. 

Historically, to address the variety of changes and challenges in health care delivery, ADN programs have responded by redesigning and updating their curriculum to accommodate current and future trends in nursing, changes in the student population and health care consumer as well as innovations in adult education. 

Therefore, the Board of Directors of the American Association of Community Colleges believes that the Associate Degree in Nursing:

  1. Increases the available number of registered nurses qualified to meet the changing health care needs of the people in the United States;      
  2. Provides historically underserved populations with affordable access to the nursing profession;      
  3. Ensures an increased number of registered nurses practicing are available in a variety of health care settings including long term care facilities, clinics, home health agencies, hospitals and other competency-based facilities; and,      
  4. Provides students with a community-based professional nursing degree.      
  5. Provides the nation with a cost- and time-efficient delivery system for a critical sector of the health care industry.

AACC Board Resolutions

Whereas, from 1952 to 1999, the majority of newly licensed registered nursing students have graduated from Associate Degree in Nursing Programs offered at community, technical, and junior colleges throughout the nation; and 

Whereas, associate degree nursing graduates, who have been licensed as registered professional nurses throughout the nation, are on a daily basis making significant contributions to the health care delivery system of the nation; and 

Whereas, it is essential for the future of our communities to ensure that historically underserved populations continue to have affordable access to the nursing profession; and 

Whereas, registered nurses who have graduated from Associate Degree Programs have demonstrated competency in nursing specialty roles and have consistently performed well on certification exams should not be restricted from certification in specialty areas; and

Whereas, many different groups periodically attempt to change the present minimum educational qualifications for all candidates for licensure as registered nurses;

Be It Therefore Resolved, by the Board of Directors of the American Association of Community Colleges that the Board of Directors endorses continued recognition of the successful attainment of an Associate Degree in Nursing as a minimum educational requirement to sit for the licensure exam (RN-NLCEX) and to be eligible for the interstate compact for multi-state licensure in the United States; 

Be It Therefore Resolved, that the Board of Directors strongly supports continuing to provide affordable access to historically underserved populations; and,

Be It Therefore Resolved, that the Board of Directors continues to support competency-based Associate Degree Nurses.

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