Doctor of Nursing Practice and Its Essentials


The essentials of master’s education in nursing identify critical areas of knowledge that nurses are expected to acquire as graduate students. Upon their graduation, the set of skills are expected to guide them in their fields of practice to enhance quality delivery of nursing care services. As shown in this paper, these nurses are expected to have competence that distinguishes them from those with lower levels of education. These essentials set standards that every institution of higher learning must consider when training nurses at master’s level. It also enables these learners to understand what is expected of them.

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Nursing is taking a completely new turn in the 21st century as opposed to what used to be the case in the past. Nurses find themselves in positions where they have to make critical decisions that can help save the lives of patients. Unlike in the past when nurses had to work under strict instructions of doctors, nurses today have a major role to play in decision-making processes when handling patients. It is important to prepare them for the demanding tasks upon their graduation. Essentials of Master’s Education in Nursing are the new standard that focuses on a transformative and evolutionary approach to graduate education (Kearney-Nunnery, 2015). This paper will look at each of these essentials and their relevance in the clinical practice.


According to Barker (2015), graduates of master’s degree in nursing are expected to have broad knowledge and expertise that expands on baccalaureate nursing practice. The essentials help in preparing learners for a wide area of practice upon their graduation.

Background for Practice from Sciences and Humanities

The essential acknowledges that a nurse who has gone through a master’s degree must be capable of integrating scientific findings from public health, nursing, genetics, biopsychosocial fields, organizational sciences, and quality improvement to enhance continuous improvement of care in diverse settings (Kearney-Nunnery, 2015). It outlines skills that all nurses who find critical roles in healthcare institutions should posses. This essential is critical clinical practice because it empowers the graduates to work in different nursing fields. It offers them knowledge and expertise that they will need when assigned varying roles in different healthcare settings.

Organizational and Systems Leadership

Persily (2013) argues that this essential acknowledges the critical role played by systems and organizational leadership in the promotion of high-quality patient care. Nurses should have leadership skills that will enable them to embrace ethics, especially when faced with difficult decision-making processes. Nurses who have master’s degree may be assigned management roles in clinical practice. They need skills that can enable them to promote team-spirit in the workplace. They must be capable of delegating duties and promoting morale of the junior officers under their leadership.

Quality Improvement and Safety

The third essential emphasizes that nurses who graduate with master’s degree should be articulate in their methods, apply relevant tools when offering care, and embrace the set standards to ensure that they offer the best care to their patients (Kearney-Nunnery, 2015). They should apply quality principles in every instance when they have to care for patients. In clinical practice, these nurses are expected to ensure that they follow the set guidelines to offer the best services to patients. They should not compromise on quality for the sake of serving a high number of patients.

Translating and Integrating Scholarship into Practice

The essential recognizes that when nurses are academically-prepared, they will be capable of applying research outcomes in the practice setting (White, 2015). Such nurses are often expected to solve practice problem based on scientific research knowledge gained through rigorous training. In clinical practice, such nurses are expected to be change agents. They need to understand when it is appropriate to introduce new systems and approaches in the field of nursing. They are also expected to help their juniors to understand how to cope with the changes within the field of nursing.

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Informatics and Healthcare Technologies

According to Persily (2013), this essential requires these nurses to be capable of using emerging technologies in patient-care to improve the quality of services they offer. They should know how and when to use these technologies to enhance communication with patients and amongst nurses. In clinical practice, this essential is very critical in enhancing integrated and coordinated care within care centers. It makes it possible for nurses to share relevant information that facilitates high-quality care.

Health Policy and Advocacy

The essential expects nurses who graduate with a master’s degree to be capable of intervening at the system level through the development of policies relevant for improving care (White, 2015). As nurses who are empowered, they should be capable of identifying areas of weakness in nursing care within their organizations and propose proper solutions. In clinical care, such skills will enable the nurses to become trouble-shooters in their organization, always advocating for programs that are beneficial to the patients and nurses.

Interprofessional Collaboration for Improving Patient and Population Health Outcomes

Barker (2015) observes that the essential expects the nurses to be leaders of inter-professional teams (Barker, 2015). As such, they must understand the value of collaboration within a healthcare setting. They must know how to communicate and consult other professionals when offering care (White, 2015). In a clinical setting, the knowledge is critical in enabling nurses to work in an environment where there is a mutual understanding between them and other specialists (doctors, clinical officers, and other professionals within the institution of care).

Clinical Prevention and Population Health for Improving Health

The essential requires nurses with advanced training to be capable of integrating broad organizational and client-centered concepts, which are culturally-sensitive when planning and delivering care (Barker, 2015). They need to embrace evidence-based approaches in the management of patients. In clinical practice, this requirement is critical in managing patients with diverse backgrounds. Nurses need to appreciate that what one patient may prefer when receiving nursing care can be different from what others may consider appropriate.

Master’s-Level Nursing Practice

According to Persily (2013), this essential requires master’s level nursing graduates to have advanced understanding nursing and relevant fields that can enable them to deliver needed services to their patients. Such nurses are expected to have a multi-disciplinary knowledge in various fields to enable them to work effectively with other professionals when offering care to patients. In clinical practice, the advanced knowledge expected of these nurses is critical in enabling them to work well with doctors and clinical officers when caring for patients.


Nurses currently find themselves in positions where they have to make decisions that have a significant impact on the life of their patients. As such, it has become necessary to ensure that they are properly trained and equipped with skills that can make them effective in their work. The AACN essentials define the expectations that should be met by these nurses in their graduate studies. It empowers nurses to work in a wide range of nursing environment.


Barker, A. (2015). Advanced practice nursing. New York, NY: Jones & Bartlett.

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Kearney-Nunnery, R. (2015). Advancing your career concepts in professional nursing. New York, NY: F.A. Davis.

Persily, C. (2013). Team leadership and partnering in nursing and health care. London, UK: Springer.

White, Z. (2015). The doctor of nursing practice essentials. New York, NY: Jones & Bartlett.

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