Essentials Task Force

View feedback opportunities planned through March 2020

AACN’s Essentials Task Force is moving ahead with its charge to update all three Essentials documents, which are used to ensure quality in nursing programs offered at the baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral (DNP) levels. In an effort to better inform AACN’s membership about this important work, see resources below under the Progress to Date section. 

Progress to Date
Overview

AACN has a long history of leadership in the establishment of the educational benchmarks and expected outcomes of baccalaureate and graduate nursing education programs. In keeping with this tradition, this task force is charged with re-envisioning the Essentials, which delineate the expected competencies of graduates of baccalaureate, master’s, and DNP programs as well as the essential curricular elements that are to be present in these programs. The task force is charged with:

1. Using the AACN Vision for Academic Nursing as a basis, identify how trends and expectations will influence nursing’s roles and the practice of baccalaureate, master’s, and DNP prepared nursing graduates within healthcare delivery for the next decade.

2. Assess the practice community’s expectations for nursing graduates at the different levels and how these may change over the next ten years. 

3. Considering AACN’s Vision for Academic Nursing, make recommendations on the Essential areas to be addressed. By specific program level, this would include identifying practice domains and competency measures for:

  • All baccalaureate nursing graduates, including BSN, RN to BSN, and accelerated BSN graduates
  • Post-baccalaureate MSN and Master’s Entry (second degree) program graduates
  • DNP graduates

4. Review and agree on common definitions for competence, competency, and competency framework. 

5. Describe a set of observable behaviors for each competency that would be expected of each graduate. 

6. Align the competencies for baccalaureate, master’s, and DNP education, ensuring that they are appropriately leveled and advance nursing practice across the healthcare system and continuum of care. 

7. Develop recommendations for the practice learning experiences necessary to assure that nursing graduates are prepared for safe and high-quality nursing practice, including the placement within the curriculum, types, and length.

8. Address the use of simulation in the curriculum for the preparation of baccalaureate, master’s, and DNP graduates.

9. Develop recommendations and strategies for AACN and the full contingent of academic programs to disseminate and implement the new Essentials.

Task Force Members
                             Jean Giddens, PhD, RN, Co-Chair  
Dean
Virginia Commonwealth University
School of Nursing
jgiddens@vcu.edu  
                              Cynthia McCurren, PhD, RN Co-Chair
Dean
Grand Valley State University
Kirkhof College of Nursing
mccurrec@gvsu.edu 
                        John McFadden, PhD, CRNA, Co-Chair 
Dean
Barry University
Barry College of Nursing and Health Sciences
jmcfadden@barry.edu
   
Linda Caldwell, DNSc, ANP-BC, Consultant
lindacaldwell19@gmail.com 
 

Nancy DeBasio, PhD, RN, Consultant
nodebasio@gmail.com  
      Jean Bartels, PhD, RN Consultant
jbartels@georgiasouthern.edu  
 

Angela Amar, PhD, RN
Dean
University of Las Vegas
School of Community Health Science 
      Susan E. Mullaney, MPPA/MPH, RN
Vice President
Center of Clinician Advancement
United Health Group 
 

Erica Hooper Arana, DNP, RN
Assistant Professor
University of San Francisco
School of Nursing and Health Professions 
      Marcella Rutherford, PhD, RN
Dean
Nova Southeastern University 
Ron and Kathy Assat College of Nursing  
 

Jacklyn Barber, EdD, RN
Dean and Professor
Morningside College 
School of Nursing 
      Susan Ruppert, PhD, FNP-C
Professor/Associate Dean
University of Texas Health Science Center - Houston
Cizik School of Nursing 
 

Carol Buck-Rolland, EdD, APRN 
Clinical Professor, Vice Chair, Graduate Nursing Program
University of Vermont
College of Nursing and Health Sciences 
      Martha Scheckel, PhD, RN 
Dean and Professor
Viterbo University
College of Nursing, Health, and Human Behavior 
 

Jill Case-Wirth, MSN, MHA
CNO
WellStar Health System 
      Jenny Schuessler, PhD, RN
Dean & Professor
University of West Georgia
Tanner Health System School of Nursing 


Lori Escallier, PhD, RN
Dean
SUNY Downstate Medical Center
College of Nursing 
   
Casey Shillam, PhD, RN-BC 
Interim Dean
University of Portland 
School of Nursing  
 

Eileen Fry-Bowers, PhD, RN
Associate Professor
University of San Diego
Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science 
      Mary Stachowiak DNP, RN, CNL
Assistant Professor, Director Clinical Leadership Track
Rutgers University
School of Nursing 
 

Beverly Havens Foster, PhD, RN
Clinical Professor, Chair of Honors Program
University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill 
School of Nursing 
      Rachel Start, MSN, RN
Director of Ambulatory Nursing Practice
Department of Patient Care Services
Rush Oak Park Hospital 
 

Vincent Hall, PhD, RN
Program Director, Master’s in Nursing Programs
Walden University
School of Nursing 
      Allison Squires, PhD, RN
New York University
Rory Meyers College of Nursing 


Jacqueline Hill, PhD, RN
Dean
Southern University and A&M College
College of Nursing and Allied Health 
   
Susan Swider, PhD, RN
Professor
Rush University 
College of Nursing


Kristin Lee, MSN, RN
Clinical Assistant Professor
University of Missouri-Kansas City
School of Nursing and Health Studies 
    Marge Wiggins, DNP, RN 
VP Patient Care
Maine Medical Center 


Kim Litwack, PhD, RN
Dean & Professor
University of WI – Milwaukee
College of Nursing 
   
Marisa Wilson, DNSc, RN
Associate Professor, Specialty Track Coordinator, MSN Nursing Informatics
School of Nursing, Family, Community, and Health Systems
The University of Alabama-Birmingham
School of Nursing 
 

Connie Miller, DNP, RNC-OB
Chair, General Nursing and Health Education Division
University of Arizona
College of Nursing 
      Danuta Wojnar, PhD, RN
Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education
Seattle University 
College of Nursing  
Mary M. Morin, MSN, RN
Vice President
Sentara Medical Group/Sentara Occupational Health Services
                                          Geraldine Young, DNP, FNP-BC
Director for Graduate Nursing Programs and 
Associate Professor of Nursing
Kentucky State University 



     

Lin Zhan, PhD, RN, FAAN
Board Liaison
Dean and Professor
University of Memphis
lzhan@memphis.edu 
AACN Staff Liaisons                                   Joan Stanley, PhD, CRNP
Chief Academic Officer
(202) 463-6930 ext.  254
jstanley@aacnnursing.org

Rick García, PhD, RN
Director of Nursing Education
(202) 463-6930 ext. 251
rgarcia@aacnnursing.org 

Kathy McGuinn, MSN, RN
Director of Interprofessional Education and Practice Partnerships
(202) 463-6930 ext. 262
kmcguinn@aacnnursing.org 
      Jabari Cooper
Nursing Education Coordinator
(202) 463-6930 ext. 250
jcooper@aacnnursing.org

Shirin Samimi-Farr
Project Coordinator
202-463-6930 ext. 229
ssamimifarr@aacnnursing.org