AACN Essentials

The Essentials

Essentials Contributors

Committee Charge:

  • Finalizing the plan for the Implementation Roadmap of the 2021 Essentials
  • Providing broad-based oversight for the implementation process
  • Making ongoing recommendations for actions and activities related to the Roadmap,
  • Overseeing the work and progress of the Essentials Ad Hoc Work Groups
  • Monitoring for issues that impact significant sections of AACN membership or present major challenges for the implementation process
  • Ongoing evaluation of the implementation processes and phases
headshot of Julie Zerwich Julie Zerwic, PhD, Co-Chair
University of Iowa
Dale Beatty

Dale Beatty, DNP, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN
Stanford Health Care
Chief Nurse Executive

headshot of Bimbola Akintade

Bimbola Akintade, PhD, First Term
East Carolina University

headshot of Jackie Dunbar-Jacob Jackie Dunbar-Jacob, PhD
University of Pittsburgh
Dean Emerita
headshot of Kristine L'Ecuyer

Kristine L’Ecuyer, PhD, First Term
Saint Louis University
Associate Dean

headshot of Kathryn Wirtz Rugen

Kathryn Wirtz Rugen, PhD, First Term
Veterans Health Administration
Deputy Director - Clinical Practice

headshot of Susan Ruppert

Susan Ruppert, PhD, First Term
University of Texas Health Science Center-Houston
Associate Dean and Chair of Graduate Studies

headshot of Jean Giddens

Jean Giddens, PhD, Board Liaison
Virginia Commonwealth University


Susan Corbridge, PhD, Staff Liaison
Chief Essentials Program Officer


Joan Stanley, PhD, Staff Liaison
Chief Academic Officer

Working Group Charge:

The Essentials: Core Competencies for Professional Nursing Education provides a framework for preparing nurses using a competency-based approach to education.  Methods to best measure competency in nursing education need further exploration and a design that will challenge students and prepare them for practice. A working group comprised of multidisciplinary competency-based education (CBE) assessment experts has been created to guide this work. The working group will help to identify the role AACN should take in addressing competency assessment as well as possible strategies for competency assessment. The group understands that while educational approaches may vary, outcomes should not. Additionally, the working group will provide guidance regarding AACN’s role in faculty development in the area of assessment and evaluation.

headshot of Bimbola Akintade

Bimbola F. Akintade, PhD, Chair
East Carolina University

headshot of Jonathan Amiel Jonathan Amiel, MD
Columbia University
Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons
Senior Associate Dean for Innovation in Health Professions Education
headshot of David Cella David Cella, PhD
Northwestern University
Chair, Department of Medical Social Sciences
headshot of Phil Dickison

Phil Dickison, PhD
National Council of State Boards of Nursing
Chief Operations & Examinations Officer

headshot of Carol Fowler Durham Carol Fowler Durham, EdD
 The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Professor and Director, Education-Innovation-Simulation Learning Environment
headshot of bob englander

Robert Englander, MD
University of Minnesota
Associate Dean for Undergraduate Medical Education

headshot of Kara Hedvig Evan Kara Hedvig Evans, MSN
Atrium Health
Director of Nursing Professional Development
Headshot of Suzan Kardong-Edgren Suzan Kardong-Edgren, PhD
MGH Institute of Health Professions
Associate Professor
headshot of Cynthia O'Neal Cynthia O'Neal, PhD
University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio
Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies
Headshot of Margaret Rauschenberger Margaret Rauschenberger, MSN
Alverno College
Dean Emerita
headshot of Janelle Sokolowich Janelle Sokolowich, PhD
Chamberlain University 
Associate Provost, Social Mission
  Susan Corbridge, PhD, Staff Liaison
Chief Essentials Program Officer

headshot of susan ward Susan Ward, PhD, Chair
Nebraska Methodist College
Accreditation Specialist
headshot of debra barksdale Debra Barksdale, PhD
University of North Carolina Greensboro
Greg Eagerton Greg Eagerton, DNP
University of Alabama at Birmingham
Associate Professor
headshot of Denise Neill Denise Neill, PhD
Texas A&M University - Commerce
Associate Professor
headshot of Kristen Ostrem-Niemcewicz Kristen Ostrem-Niemcewicz, DNP
University of New Mexico
Interim Assistant Dean of Undergraduate Education
Executive Director of Undergraduate Programs
headshot of Tricia Templet Tricia Templet, DNP
University of Louisiana at Lafayette
Director of BSN Program
  Susan Corbridge, PhD, Staff Liaison
Chief Essentials Program Officer

Working Group Charge:

With the adoption of the new AACN Essentials in April 2021, schools of nursing are expected to transition to competency-based education (CBE) and prepare graduates of professional nursing programs, entry-level and advanced level, with delineated core competencies. This transition, although expected to occur over three or more years, is significant and will require multiple changes in nursing programs, curricula, and learning/assessment strategies. Changes in higher education and health profession education are also occurring at a rapid pace, including the use and applicability of technology.

Based on a review of the potential applications, uses, benefits, and barriers/challenges for the use of technology to support the implementation of the new Essentials, the Working Group will:

  • Develop recommendations regarding the use of technology within academic nursing, including for the association, accreditation, nursing education programs, and students.   
  • Develop recommendations regarding existing or needed technology/digital tools to support the implementation of the new Essentials, such as for curriculum mapping, data collection and reporting, and competency attainment/tracking.  
    • Tools that support the needs of AACN, member schools, accreditors, and students.
    • Tools/products should be accessible to all member schools.
    • Recommendations should be prioritized and include potential costs (fiscal and human resources).
    • Recommendations should include appropriate standards for the technology, tools, and products to allow access and sharing.
  • Consult with others who have applicable expertise, as needed.
  • Provide input/oversight for the development/selection of technologies to support nursing education.

View the report:  Vision for Sharing Data and Information Across Nursing Education, Practice, and Regulation

headshot of David Bowersox David Bowersox, MBA
Duke University
Vice Dean, Finance and Administration
Headshot of Mary Joy Garcia Dia Mary Joy Garcia Dia, DNP
New York Presbyterian Hospital
Director, Nursing Informatics
Headshot of Tao Le Tao Le, MD
University of Louisville
Professor of Medicine
headshot of Janelle Sokolowich Janelle Sokolowich, PhD
Western Governors University
Academic Vice President and Dean
headshot of Melissa Stec Melissa Stec, DNP
Emory University
headshot of dan weberg Dan Weberg, PhD
The Ohio State University
Assistant Professor of Clinical Practice
Headshot of Alison Whelan Alison Whelan, MD
Association of American Medical Colleges
Chief Academic Officer
headshot of marisa wilson Marisa Wilson, DNSc
University of Alabama at Birmingham
Associate Professor and Chairperson
  Joan Stanley, PhD, Staff Liaison
Chief Academic Officer
Become an Essentials Champion

Become an Essentials Champion

AACN is looking for each member school to identify one lead faculty member to serve as an Essentials Champion. These individuals will be your school’s resident contact and communication liaison who will have access to a new network of leaders engaged in Essentials implementation. Champions will be encouraged to bring forward issues, ask questions, and share ideas during virtual Q & A sessions held each quarter with AACN staff leaders.

How to Sign Up

Deans are encouraged to identify their school’s champion by completing a short online form.

Complete the Form

Contact AACN

For questions about Essentials programs, implementation efforts, resources, and more, please contact essentials@aacnnursing.org or the following AACN staff member for assistance.

Susan Corbridge, PhD
Chief Essentials Program Officer