The analysis and comparison of associate degree nursing programs of learning, 1951-1981

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Woodring, Barbara C.
Riegle, Jack D.
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The rapid growth of associate degree programs in nursing in the United States had not been paralleled by documentation of curricular development and alterations. A study was designed to accomplish a dual purpose (1) to determine what changes, if any, had occurred in programs of learning utilized in associate degree education for nurses from 1951 through 1981 and (2) to determine if selected leaders in nursing education perceived any needed changes in the program of learning currently-,-implemented in the education of technical nurses.The distinctives of the Montag-model of associate degree education were utilized as the basis for the data collection instrument. Questionnaires were mailed to the chairpersons of 125 associate degree nursing programs in institutions which met the stated criteria. Eighty-two percent of the chairpersons responded. Respondents represented junior-community colleges, senior colleges and universities located within thirty-seven states.The findings and conclusions were based upon the review of literature and related research and the analysis and evaluation of data supplied by the one hundred nursing educators which comprised the study population. The most significant findings related to the nursing component of the program of study were: (1) thirty-seven percent of the programs has retained the entire nursing component originally presented by Montag; (2) twenty-four programs included an independent course in nursing leadership; (3) clock hour allocations in clinical nursing experiences had increased by a mean of 100.5 percent; (4) class hours required in nursing courses had increased by a mean of 224.7 percent; and (5) thirty-four percent of the population responding required a summer term which extended the length of student enrollment to five semesters or seven quarters. Additional findings were reported relating to the non-nursing component and to the program of learning as a whole. Recommendations were directed to nursing educators as a whole and to specific official nursing agencies.