In This Section

Updates on the AACN Essentials

  • July 6, 2022
    The University of Pittsburgh began the long and diligent process of implementing the new AACN Essentials in 2021 with the help of AACN’s Essentials Implementation Webinar Series and additional resources, as well as insights from the University of Maryland. Leaders at Pitt formed a faculty task force representing their BSN, MSN, and DNP programs to develop student learning outcomes (SLOs) for each domain of the new EssentialsRead more...

  • June 29, 2022
    Samuel Merritt University (SMU) has completed their first step in implementing the new AACN Essentials for their FNP program. The team at SMU focused on small steps to start the multi-year process of implementing the new curriculum standards. Read more...

  • June 22, 2022
    Kent State University has started their journey toward competency-based nursing education with the new AACN Essentials. The College of Nursing spent the 2021-22 academic year curriculum mapping courses in their BSN, eight MSN concentrations, post-master’s DNP, and BSN-to-DNP programs to the new Essentials domains, competencies, and sub-competencies. Read more...

  • June 15, 2022
    AACN defines competency-based education as “a system of instruction, assessment, feedback, self-reflection, and academic reporting that is based on students demonstrating that they have learned the knowledge, attitudes, motivations, self-perceptions, and skills expected of them as they progress through their education.”  Read full definition of competency-based education here.

  • June 1, 2022
    The Journal of Professional Nursing (JPN), an AACN’s peer-reviewed journal, is seeking manuscripts focused on how schools are moving to adapt their programs using the new model and framework outlined in the Essentials, including new approaches to teaching and learning assessment. To discuss your manuscript idea, contact editor Dr. Patricia Morton.

  • May 25, 2022
    The 2022 Quality and Safety Education for Nurses (QSEN) International Forum will take place at the Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel, Denver, CO, June 1-3. This year’s theme is “Aligning the New AACN Essentials and QSEN: The Future of Quality and Safety Competencies in Nursing Education and Practice.” 

  • May 4, 2022
    AACN has not endorsed any products or services related to the implementation of the new AACN Essentials. AACN is committed to facilitating the transition to the Essentials, which extends to working with corporate partners. AACN encourages organizations interested in collaboration and promotional opportunities to complete the vendor interest survey. If AACN members have questions about specific products and services that claim to be endorsed by the association, please contact

  • April 27, 2022
    The AACN Board of Directors endorsed the latest primary palliative care competencies for undergraduate and graduate nursing students (CARES/G-CARES, 2nd ed), which the End-of-Life Nursing Education Consortium prepared. A crosswalk document is available to help align the new competencies with the Essentials to guide faculty toward curricular integration of palliative care education and evaluate programmatic outcomes in the hospice/palliative/supportive care sphere of care.

  • April 18, 2022
    AACN is offering an ongoing series of webinars to help schools implement the new competency expectations for professional nursing programs. These events highlight basic how-to’s as well as practical approaches to curriculum alignment and competency evaluation. To date, 12 webinars have been offered, including Beginning Steps for Building a Competency-Based Curriculum, Transforming Nursing Education through Curriculum Innovation, Curriculum Evaluation and Integration of Competencies, and Assessment Strategies for a Competency-Based Curriculum. All webinars may be accessed for free by AACN member deans, faculty, and students. 

  • April 6, 2022
    Join us April 13 at 2:00 pm (ET) for the next Essentials Implementation Webinar - Opportunities for Cross Curricular Collaboration: Implementing Competency-Based Learning. Pesenters will discuss the process of moving faculty through curricular transformation to competency-based learning across multiple entry- and advanced-level nursing programs. 

  • March 8, 2022
    The Journal of Professional Nursing is AACN’s peer-reviewed official journal and is the leading source for scholarly publication related to the new AACN Essentials and Essentials implementation in nursing education. Of particular interest are articles on how to integrate the Essentials into the curriculum and implementing competency-based education. To discuss your manuscript idea, contact editor Dr. Patricia Morton at

  • February 23, 2022
    AACN is committed to sharing information and resources to assist with the implementation of the new AACN Essentials. A Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) document addresses common areas of concern, including implementation expectations, the new model for nursing education, CCNE accreditation, and clinical hours and curriculum expectations. Questions related to Nursing Education as a concentration in graduate programs in also addressed. Please send requests for answers to additional FAQs to

  • February 9, 2022
    AACN is pleased to announce the availability of a Public/Population Health Nursing Assessment Vignette to measure BSN level competencies in population health. The vignette can be used as part of a course in population or public health or as part of an end-of-program course to determine student ability to synthesize population health concepts with other knowledge/skills across the patient care continuum. 

  • February 2, 2022
    On Wednesday, February 9 at 1:00 pm ET, AACN will offer the latest Essentials Implementation webinar titled Implementation of Advanced-Level Competencies in Graduate Nursing Education led by Dr. Gail Armstrong from the Oregon Health & Science University. With five additional webinars planned through April 2022, upcoming events 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.  

  • January 26, 2022
    New Essentials Implementation Tools Posted

    • ‚ÄčA 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 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, 2021
    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.

  • November 3, 2021
    AACN is pleased to announce that 73 leaders representing nursing education, research, and practice have been appointed to serve on new AACN Essentials Tool Kit working groups. With individual groups formed to address each of the 10 domains and 8 concepts identified in the Essentials. The volunteers engaged in this work will identify learning strategies, recommended content, and assessment measures to help schools transition their programs to meet the new competency expectations. Click here to view the working group members.

  • October 27, 2021
    AACN is pleased to announce that the new AACN Essentials Implementation Steering Committee has been formed to help guide the transition to the new competency standards. The committee is co-chaired by leaders in education and practice, including Jackie Dunbar-Jacob from the University of Pittsburgh and Jerry Mansfield from the Mount Carmel Health System. Other members include Bimbola Akintade, University of Maryland; Kristine L'Ecuyer, Saint Louis University; Susan Ruppert, University of Texas Health Science Center-Houston; Maureen Swick, Atrium Health; Holisa Wharton, Lander University; and Cynthia McCurren, University of Michigan-Flint (Board Liaison). Click here to read the Committee’s charge.

  • October 20, 2021
    In the September/October issue of Syllabus, the teaching tools developed by the End-of-Life Nursing Education Consortium (ELNEC) are considered in light of the new competency expectations. The Essentials identify hospice/palliative/supportive care across the lifespan and with diverse populations as one of the four spheres of care critical to nursing practice. To support the efforts of schools moving to enhance and standardize their palliative care education, ELNEC is providing free access to its entry- and advance-level curriculum for review. Contact to request access.   

  • Dorothy DulkoSeptember 1, 2021
    AACN is pleased to welcome Dorothy Dulko, PhD, ARNP-BC, AOCNP, WHNP-BC, to the staff in the new role of Implementation Director of the AACN Essentials. Dr. Dulko brings over 30 years of experience as an advanced practice nurse, hospital administrator, educator, and researcher. Please join us in welcoming Dr. Dulko, who will lead AACN’s efforts to facilitate implementation of the new Essentials.

  • August 25, 2021
    Nurse Educator 
    has published a collection of eight articles on the new AACN Essentials, specifically Domain 5: Quality and Safety. Written by Dr. Gerry Altmiller from The College of New Jersey and colleagues, all articles may be accessed for free.  

  • August 18, 2021
    New Essentials Implementation Webinar Series

  • August 11, 2021
    Read the Executive Summary of the Essentials
  • August 4, 2021
    References Now Available

  • July 28, 2021
    Upcoming AACN Programming on Implementing the New Essentials

  • July 21, 2021
    Q&A with Practice Leaders on the Essentials Task Force
  • July 14, 2021
    Upcoming AACN Programming on Implementing the New Essentials

View past updates