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AACN Essentials

Used to define quality in nursing education, the AACN Essentials outline the necessary curriculum content and expected competencies of graduates from baccalaureate, master’s, and Doctor of Nursing Practice programs. With the endorsement of the new AACN Essentials by the membership in April 2021, academic nursing is moving toward a new model and framework for nursing education using a competency-based approach.  AACN is committed to providing resources, education, and guidance to bring about this transformation.

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AACN Essentials Marketplace

AACN is considering requests from companies and organizations interested in developing products, services, and education to assist in the implementation of the new Essentials. Those interested must complete the AACN Essentials Partners Interest Survey.

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The Essential Update - The Latest on AACN's New Essentials

  • January 26, 2022
    New Essentials Implementation Tools Posted

    • A spreadsheet focused on the concept of Clinical Judgment, which includes recommendations for integrated learning strategies, assessment strategies, exemplars, and recommended content.

    • A new Curriculum Map created by Dr. Dawn Mueller-Burke from the University of Maryland School of Nursing, which covers all 10 Essentials Domains and Level 2 Sub-Competencies.

  • January 19, 2022
    On January 27 at 2:00 pm (ET), AACN will commence the second series of Essentials Implementation Webinars with a session titled Essentials Implementation: Creating a New Future Together led by Dr. Casey Shillam from the University of Portland. For more details on upcoming webinars and to register, click here.

  • January 12, 2022
    AACN is offering sessions at the virtual Doctoral Education Conference that focuses on facilitating the transition to the new AACN Essentials. The sessions will be held on Friday, January 21.  To find out more about these sessions and to register for the conference, click here.

  • January 5, 2022
    AACN is pleased to announce the launch of the Essentials Discussion Corner created to help faculty have robust conversations about the AACN Essentials

  • December 22, 2021
    AACN is pleased to announce that seven new events are planned for our popular Essentials Implementation Webinar Series. Spanning January-April 2022, the upcoming webinars will focus on integrating entry-level and advanced competencies into nursing curricula, moving to competency-based education, curriculum mapping, transformation through innovation, and cross-curriculum collaboration.

  • December 15, 2021
    The Essentials Implementation Tool Kit is a continuously evolving resource designed to assist faculty in implementing the new standards. Faculty have created several curriculum mapping tools to help schools align their programs with the new competency expectations. The new tools are posted online. In addition, a presentation given by three AACN leaders - Dr. Jerry Mansfield, Mount Carmel Health System; Dr. Cynthia McCurren, University of Michigan-Flint; and Dr. John McFadden, Barry University - for the Mayo Clinic earlier this fall is now accessible online. The presentation is titled The Re-Envisioned AACN Essentials: What Lies Ahead?

  • December 8, 2021
    The upcoming QSEN International Forum will be hosted in Denver, CO on June 1-3, 2022 with sessions reflecting the conference theme: Aligning the New AACN Essentials and QSEN: The Future of Quality and Safety Competencies in Nursing Education and Practice. The QSEN Institute has issued a call for abstracts for presentations or posters that describe innovative projects or research related to competencies in healthcare education or practice focused on quality and safety. Abstracts are due by January 1, 2022. Click here for more details.

  • December 1, 2021
    With nearly 16,000 registrations for AACN’s first Essentials Implementation Webinar Series, faculty nationwide were introduced to the new competency expectations for nursing graduates as well as steps for implementing a competency-based approach to nursing education. All webinars are available for free on-demand. AACN has posted a new Q&A summary to address some frequently asked questions that were raised by webinar attendees. Stay tuned for details on 2022 Essentials Implementation Webinars, which will focus on curriculum mapping and evaluation, implementing advanced-level competencies, embracing innovation, and other core topics.

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