AACN’s New Web Resource Focuses on Preparing Nurses with Essential Well-Being and Leadership Competencies

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 25, 2024 – The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (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.

“Today’s nurse must be equipped to address the challenges faced by all healthcare providers, which includes developing the expertise needed to safeguard mental health and well-being within themselves and in others,” said Dr. Deborah Trautman, AACN President and Chief Executive Officer. “AACN applauds Johnson & Johnson for supporting academic nursing’s effort to enhance the practice readiness of newly graduated nurses, which is a critical factor in workforce retention.”

A Catalyst for Innovation

In April 2021, member schools affiliated with AACN endorsed The Essentials: Core Competencies for Professional Nursing Education, which outlines a new model and framework for professional nursing education using a competency-based approach. Moving to implement the Essentials presents a unique opportunity for schools of nursing to infuse innovation into curriculum to better prepare nurses to thrive across practice settings. The latest standards call for preparing nurses with specific competencies related to leadership development, professionalism, emotional intelligence, wellness, and resilience.

In March 2022, AACN launched an initiative titled A Competency-Based Approach to Leadership Development and Resilience for Student Nurses to identify learning experiences that foster personal health, well-being, and leadership skills in graduates of baccalaureate nursing programs. An expert advisory group and AACN staff provided technical assistance to 10 pilot schools to ensure that identified teaching and learning strategies were integrated into nursing programs during the Spring 2023 semester. Schools collaborated with practice partners to determine how and when to integrate resources and learning strategies into classroom and clinical experiences, offering feedback on what strategies were most effective and how implementation efforts could be optimized. Schools also developed their own strategies and resources. The lessons learned and exemplars from the pilot testing have been compiled into a new online resource and will be shared with all nursing schools as part of a national dissemination effort.

A New Resource for Nurse Faculty

Housed on the AACN website, the Developing Nurse Well-Being and Leadership Tool Kit offers strategies for strengthening entry-level nurse competencies in the area of personal, professional, and leadership development, as aligned with the AACN Essentials. The tool kit features dozens of learning strategies, assessment measures, faculty suggestions, and key resources that can be used by nurse educators to adapt curriculum. Individual pages have been created to highlight the initiative’s four core content areas – Well-Being, Self-Care, Resilience, and Leadership – with each page highlighting the Essentials competencies addressed, integrative learning strategies, assessment guidance, and resources available to assist curriculum designers.

The work of the pilot schools is highlighted through video vignettes and expert insights, including an overview of learning strategies used and resources developed to enrich student learning. Details on how faculty can contribute additional teaching resources that reflect the site’s themes are posted to further augment the site’s content. Strategies for engaging faculty, practice partners, and students to advocate for efforts focused on wellness, self-care, and resilience also are featured.

As AACN continues to champion innovative approaches to nursing education, we encourage faculty to explore this valuable resource on our website

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) is the national voice for academic nursing representing more than 875 schools of nursing nationwide. AACN establishes quality standards for nursing education, influences the nursing profession to improve health care, and promotes public support of baccalaureate and graduate nursing education, research, and practice.

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