AACN Essentials

The Essentials

Domain 4: Scholarship for the Nursing Discipline

Descriptor: The generation, synthesis, translation, application, and dissemination of nursing knowledge to improve health and transform health care (AACN, 2018).

Contextual Statement: Nursing scholarship informs science, enhances clinical practice, influences policy, and impacts best practices for educating nurses as clinicians, scholars, and leaders. Scholarship is inclusive of discovery, application, integration, and teaching. While not all inclusive, the scholarship of discovery includes primary empirical research, analysis of large data sets, theory development, and methodological studies. The scholarship of practice interprets, draws together, applies, and brings new insight to original research (Boyer, 1990; AACN 2018).

Knowledge of the basic principles of the research process, including the ability to critique research and determine its applicability to nursing’s body of knowledge, is critical. Ethical comportment in the conduct and dissemination of research and advocacy for human subjects are essential components of nursing’s role in the process of improving health and health care. Whereas the research process is the generation of new knowledge, evidence-based practice (EBP) is the process for the application, translation, and implementation of best evidence into clinical decision-making. While evidence may emerge from research, EBP extends beyond just data to include patient preferences and values as well as clinical expertise. Nurses, as innovators and leaders within the interprofessional team, use the uniqueness of nursing in nurse-patient relationships to provide optimal care and address health inequities, structural racism, and systemic inequity.

Entry-Level Domain 4 Competencies

4.1 Advance the scholarship of nursing

  • 4.1a Demonstrate an understanding of different approaches to scholarly practice.

  • 4.1b Demonstrate application of different levels of evidence.

  • 4.1c Apply theoretical framework(s)/models in practice.

  • 4.1d Demonstrate an understanding of basic elements of the research process.

  • 4.1e Participate in scholarly inquiry as a team member.

  • 4.1f Evaluate research.

  • 4.1g Communicate scholarly findings.

4.2 Integrate best evidence into nursing practice.

  • 4.2a Evaluate clinical practice to generate questions to improve nursing care.

  • 4.2b Evaluate appropriateness and strength of the evidence.

  • 4.2c Use best evidence in practice.

  • 4.2d Participate in the implementation of a practice change to improve nursing care.

  • 4.2e Participate in the evaluation of outcomes and their implications for practice.

4.3 Promote the ethical conduct of scholarly activities.

  • 4.3a Explain the rationale for ethical research guidelines, including Institutional Review Board (IRB) guidelines.

  • 4.3b Demonstrate ethical behaviors in scholarly projects including quality improvement and EBP initiatives.

  • 4.3c Advocate for the protection of participants in the conduct of scholarly initiatives.

  • 4.3d Recognize the impact of equity issues in research.

Advanced-Level Domain 4 Competencies

4.1 Advance the scholarship of nursing

  • 4.1h Apply and critically evaluate advanced knowledge in a defined area of nursing practice.

  • 4.1i Engage in scholarship to advance health.

  • 4.1j Discern appropriate applications of quality improvement, research, and evaluation methodologies.

  • 4.1k Collaborate to advance one’s scholarship.

  • 4.1l Disseminate one’s scholarship to diverse audiences using a variety of approaches or modalities.

  • 4.1m Advocate within the interprofessional team and with other stakeholders for the contributions of nursing scholarship.

4.2 Integrate best evidence into nursing practice.

  • 4.2f Use diverse sources of evidence to inform practice.

  • 4.2g Lead the translation of evidence into practice.

  • 4.2h Address opportunities for innovation and changes in practice.

  • 4.2i Collaborate in the development of new/revised policy or regulation in the light of new evidence.

  • 4.2j Articulate inconsistencies between practice policies and best evidence.

  • 4.2k Evaluate outcomes and impact of new practices based on the evidence.

4.3 Promote the ethical conduct of scholarly activities.

  • 4.3e Identify and mitigate potential risks and areas of ethical concern in the conduct of scholarly activities.

  • 4.3f Apply IRB guidelines throughout the scholarship process.

  • 4.3g Ensure the protection of participants in the conduct of scholarship.

  • 4.3h Implement processes that support ethical conduct in practice and scholarship.

  • 4.3i Apply ethical principles to the dissemination of nursing scholarship.