AACN Essentials

The Essentials

Welcome to the Essentials

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.  AACN is dedicated to providing resources and support to facilitate this shift in nursing education. Whether you're an educator, student, or healthcare professional, explore this microsite to stay informed and engaged as we shape the future of nursing education together.

Essentials Tool Kit

Essentials Tool Kit

Guides & Talking Points

Guides & Talking Points

Webinars & Workshops

Webinars & Workshops

Download & Order Essentials

Download & Order Essentials

Latest Updates & Resources

New Essentials Talking Points Released to Engage Higher Education Leaders

June 18, 2024
AACN has just published a new set of talking points that can be used to educate college and university leaders about the transformational work underway in nursing to fully transition to the 2021 Essentials and competency-based education (CBE). Titled What Higher Education Leaders Need to Know About the AACN Essentials, this document provides a brief overview on the many benefits of CBE to preparing more practice-ready nurses and identifies 6 ways that college presidents, provosts, and other leaders can help facilitate the move to CBE. This resource complements previously published talking points on the Essentials and CBE focused on the Essentials and CBE focused on practice partners, development officers, and prospective nursing students.

New Content Posted to the Essentials Teaching Resource Database

May 15, 2024
To facilitate implementation of the Essentials, AACN created a searchable teaching resource database, which includes content related to all 18 Domains and Concepts. Each resource features an overview, details on how to use, recommended learning and assessment strategies, and related tools and readings. Recently added resources include:

Faculty are encouraged to revisit the database on a regular basis, as new resources are added each month. To submit your own resources to the database, click here. For tips on using the Teaching Resource Database and sharing your own resources, watch this video featuring Dr. Kristin Ashford from the University of Kentucky.

Virtual Essentials Q&A Session Planned for AACN Member Deans

May 1, 2024
AACN invites nursing school deans and leaders to join us for a Q&A session on Tuesday, June 11 at 3:00 pm (ET) that will cover Essentials implementation, transitioning to competency-based education, and assessment strategies. Come hear the latest updates on helpful resources and effective approaches for adapting your curriculum to meet today’s Essentials. Panelists will discuss AACN's new Competency Assessment Framework and the work underway to facilitate learning assessment, including the development of progression indicators. Come prepared to ask questions and get the answers needed to accelerate your school's curriculum redesign efforts. Register online here and submit questions here.

AACN Reaffirms Support for Full Implementation of The Essentials: Core Competencies for Professional Nursing Education

April 30, 2024
AACN is committed to achieving the preferred future for nursing education outlined in the 2021 Essentials and to communicating the fundamental "WHY" behind the importance of fully embracing this call for transformation. This framework for nursing education was developed in response to the need for nurses who are well-equipped to navigate today's complex and rapidly evolving healthcare landscape. Developed with input from practice and academic leaders over a consensus-building, two-year period, the Essentials received overwhelming support through a vote from AACN's national network of more than 875 member schools of nursing.

AACN Launches New Web Resource Focusing on Preparing Nurses with Essential Well-Being and Leadership Competencies

April 25, 2024
AACN has launched the Developing Nursing Well-Being and Leadership Tool Kit for faculty working to prepare new nurses with key skills needed to succeed in the healthcare system, specifically in the areas of well-being, self-care, resilience, and leadership. Funding for this resource was provided by the Johnson & Johnson Foundation with the goal of accelerating the transition to competency-based education in nursing and meeting the expectations outlined by AACN in The Essentials: Core Competencies for Professional Nursing Education.

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