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Essentials Implementation Spotlight

University of South FloridaJuly 13, 2022

The University of South Florida (USF) is making strides toward implementing the 2021 AACN Essentials with a ground-up approach led by their New Essentials Task Force. All USF nursing faculty mapped current courses to Essentials sub-competencies, which were then consolidated into a high-level crosswalk to identify gaps, redundancies, and thread-points to meet all domains, competencies, and spheres of care. These courses were designated as Introduction, Reinforcement, or Mastery to support multiple assessment points along the program continuum. Faculty are currently developing a future-state crosswalk and “Essentializing” program goals. USF’s next steps include syllabi and course revisions, with domain experts and diversity, equity, and inclusion champions engaging with the process to ensure alignment across entry and advanced levels. USF supports faculty development in competency-based education (CBE) by holding curriculum mapping events and providing access to electronic resources, including the AACN Essentials, CBE articles, CBE verb taxonomies, and course assessment and learning outcome conversion worksheets. For more details, contact Dr. Brittany Hay, assistant professor, at

University of PittsburghJuly 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 Essentials. Drafts of these new SLOs are already under review by Dean Jacqueline Dunbar-Jacobs and will soon be fortified with the help of additional experts, clinical partners, and students to ensure graduates are prepared for Entry to Professional Practice or Advanced Nursing Practice. Pitt has mapped their courses’ learning outcomes to the Essentials competencies and does not believe new additional courses will be needed. Teaching faculty will be tasked to ensure their courses cover the relevant competencies. For more information about the University of Pittsburgh’s implementation efforts, contact Katelyn Sykes at

Samuel Merritt University | College of NursingJune 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. The first of these was a year-long review of each nursing course’s learning outcomes (CLOs) from the 2020-21 academic year to ensure all professional standards and programmatic outcomes were met, followed by a review of all 2021-22 academic year courses to align CLOs with the Essentials’ 10 domains. The implementation team found that at least one of the 10 domains was reflected in each course the college of nursing offered. SMU continues their work towards full Essentials implementation. For more information about Samuel Merritt University’s progress, contact Dr. Shelitha Campbell, assistant professor and co-director of the FNP program, at

Kent State UniversityJune 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. Soon, the college will evaluate each program’s alignment with the new competencies and assess if they are building on Bloom’s taxonomy – remember, understand, apply, analyze, evaluate, and create – before making any necessary curriculum changes. In addition to these efforts, and with full support of their community partners, Kent State University is investigating if moving all MSN advanced practice programs to the DNP level is a good fit for Kent State. For more information about Kent State University’s implementation efforts, contact Dr. Tracey Motter, associate dean and associate professor, at