New AACN White Paper Released: Practice Experiences in Entry-Level Post-Licensure Nursing Programs

On April 15, 2024, the AACN Board of Directors endorsed a new white paper titled Practice Experiences in Entry-Level Post-Licensure Nursing Programs. This document replaces a previous version titled Expectations for Practice Experiences in RN to Baccalaureate Curriculum that was released in 2012.

The white paper was revised to reflect changes in health care and align with the expectations for entry-level post-licensure programs outlined in the 2021 AACN Essentials. Updates include:

  • The focus was expanded beyond baccalaureate degree-completion programs to include all entry-level, post-licensure nursing programs: RN-BSN, RN-MSN, and RN-DNP.
  • The Background and Current Healthcare Landscape sections were updated and a new section on Competency-Based Education was added.
  • The section, Practice Experience in Post-Licensure Degree Programs, reaffirms the need for direct and indirect care experiences and describes the requirements for practice experiences in the 2021 Essentials. Differences from the 2012 white paper include the need for learning experiences in all four spheres of care and across the lifespan, and the need to provide evidence of student achievement of all Level 1 sub-competencies. A statement was added regarding post-licensure entry-level programs (RN-MSN and RN-DNP) to underscore that if these programs prepare students for an area of advanced nursing practice, they must also meet Level 2 expectations.
  • Definitions in the new white paper reflect those in the 2021 Essentials. Changes in the definitions are:
    • Inclusion of aggregates in the definition of patient.
    • A statement that clarifies that direct care must include a professional encounter between a nurse and actual patients.
    • Direct care may include either face-to-face or virtual encounters.
  • In Appendix A, ten examples of practice experiences have been added, which reflect current definitions for direct and indirect care. The relevant Essentials domains, competencies, and sub-competencies for each learning experience are identified to assist with curriculum design

Special thanks to the following members of the National RN-BSN Faculty Forum for their contributions to Appendix A:

Deborah Blackwell, PhD, WHNP-BC, RNC-OB, CNE
Southern New Hampshire University

Debra Cherubini, PhD, RN
Salve Regina University

Margie Hair, PhD, RN, CNE
University of Mary

Vicki Jowell, MSN-Ed, RN
University of Texas at Tyler

Lynn Nichols, PhD, RN, PED-BC, SANE
Boise State University

Kate Tredway, MBA, MSN, RN
University of Illinois Chicago

Categories: Education