AACN Releases New Statement on the Timeline for Essentials Implementation
When the endorsement of the new Essentials was announced in April 2021, AACN projected that “this groundbreaking shift in how registered nurses are prepared in the U.S. will take 3 years or more to fully implement.” Over the last two years, a large majority of member schools have made great progress in transitioning their programs to meet the new competency expectations. Faculty have answered the call for transformation by mapping curriculum, adapting clinical and didactic learning experiences, and working more closely with practice partners to address gaps in programs designed to prepare nurses for entry-level and advanced-level practice. Academic leaders recognize that preparing nurses to meet the 2021 Essentials is critical to helping nurses thrive in contemporary practice settings. It’s what our students need, what practice leaders expect, and what patients deserve.
To fully meet the new curriculum guidelines, schools also must adopt a new teaching and learning framework focused on competency-based education (CBE) and assessment. This fundamental shift in how nurses are educated requires innovation, creativity, and collaboration at every step on the path to meaningful change. AACN recognizes that evolving to a new approach to education will take time and that programs may still be engaged in the process of shifting to CBE beyond the initial projected timeframe for Essentials implementation. AACN remains committed to providing a full range of training, support, and resources to help nursing programs transition to CBE and achieve the preferred future for nursing education.