The Essentials: Core Competencies for Professional Nursing Education

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 facilitate this transformation.

Ways to Contribute

Latest Updates

  • December 7, 2022
    With a recently revised curriculum centered on social determinants of health and population-focused care across practice settings, Rutgers University School of Nursing-Newark and New Brunswick was well positioned to implement the new AACN Essentials into its entry-level programs. Read more...

  • November 30, 2022
    On December 7 at 2:00 pm (ET), Dr. Shelley A. Johnson, dean of the School of Nursing at Florida A&M University, will present a webinar titled Early Lessons: On the Journey to CBE in Pre-licensure Nursing Education. This presentation will focus on insights gained from infusing competency-based education (CBE) into a pre-licensure BSN program. Read more...

  • November 16, 2022
    Following an information session held at AACN's Academic Nursing Leadership Conference in October, CCNE updated the Frequently Asked Questions related to accreditation expectations and the 2021 Essentials, which is published on the AACN website (see pages 11-12). Read more...

  • November 9, 2022
    Last summer, the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing hosted nursing educators from across the country for the three-day, intensive Vanderbilt Informatics Summer Teaching Academy (VISTA). Vanderbilt faculty experts developed the workshop to teach faculty how to integrate informatics competencies related to data, information, and technology from the new AACN Essentials. Read more...

  • November 2, 2022
    Showcase your school’s success in advancing curricular innovation and moving to competency-based education! AACN is seeking brief video updates from member schools to post in our online Gallery of Leadership, which illustrate efforts to implement the 2021 Essentials. Read more...

  • October 26, 2022
    AACN has launched a newly redesigned webpage to better showcase the resources and information available to help schools implement the 2021 Essentials. An important new feature of the site is a searchable teaching resource database containing learning strategies, recommended content, and assessment options that you can consider using as you adapt your programs. Read more...

  • October 19, 2022
    Alverno College launched its new Essentials-aligned DNP curriculum this fall. Faculty used the Essentials as a foundation to enhance an application- and experience-based DNP program to develop nurses with high-level leadership and clinical skills. Read more...

  • October 12, 2022
    The San Juan Bautista School of Medicine Nursing Program will launch its new BSN curriculum, adapted to meet the new AACN Essentials, by January 2023. San Juan Bautista is a community-based school, where students actively participate in community health promotion and activities in partnership with the Puerto Rico Health Department and Puerto Rico College of Professional Nursing. Read more...

  • October 5, 2022
    Nursing faculty teaching a strategic and financial business planning course at the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC) identified an opportunity to evaluate their course materials with the AACN Essentials. Read more...

  • September 28, 2022
    AACN is asking each member school dean to identify one lead faculty member to serve as an Essentials Champion. This individual will be your school’s central point of contact and communication liaison who will have access to a new network of leaders engaged in Essentials implementation. Read more...

  • September 21, 2022
    On September 19, AACN issued a comprehensive update on the resources and opportunities available to nursing schools working to implement the 2021 Essentials. This communication includes an announcement about the new Essentials Champion program, details on the upcoming Faculty Development Conference, and more. Access the update..

View past updates

Important Note: AACN has not endorsed any products or services related to the implementation of AACN Essentials. If AACN members have questions about specific products and services that claim to be endorsed by the association, please contact

Latest Resources

New Teaching Resource Database

New Teaching Resource Database

AACN has released a new teaching resource database that includes extracted resources from the 18 Domain and Concept Tool Kit Working Groups. This database is continuously evolving, and new teaching resources will be posted. All resources will be reviewed regularly for currency and relevance with new resources added as appropriate.  

Access the Database

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