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

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  
Virginia Commonwealth University
School of Nursing  
                      Cynthia McCurren, PhD, RN Co-Chair
Grand Valley State University
Kirkhof College of Nursing 
                          John McFadden, PhD, CRNA, Co-Chair 
Barry University
Barry College of Nursing and Health Sciences
  Linda Caldwell, DNSc, ANP-BC, Consultant 

  Nancy DeBasio, PhD, RN, Consultant  
        Jean Bartels, PhD, RN Consultant  

  Angela Amar, PhD, RN
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
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
WellStar Health System 
        Jenny Schuessler, PhD, RN
Dean & Professor
University of West Georgia
Tanner Health System School of Nursing 

  Lori Escallier, PhD, RN
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
Southern University and A&M College
College of Nursing and Allied Health 
  Susan Swider, PhD, RN
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 
AACN Staff Liaisons                                     Joan Stanley, PhD, CRNP
Chief Academic Officer
(202) 463-6930 ext.  254

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

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

Shirin Samimi-Farr
Project Coordinator
202-463-6930 ext. 229