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Master’s Education Essentials for Nursing in the US


The Essentials of Master’s Education in Nursing created by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing represents a proposal for quality educational intervention. The essentials are the nine skills and knowledge basics that each student who completes the master’s program should possess. The implementation of such innovation should improve the quality of care, promote life-long learning, foster interprofessional collaboration, and guide practice with evidence. All of them are vital elements that can assist in improving the quality of care delivery in a variety of settings. In this article, the practical significance of all nine essentials is being reviewed and examined in detail.

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The Essentials of Master’s Education in Nursing created by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing serves a critical role in the development and evolution of graduate education for nurses in the U.S. It represents a product of intellectual labor created by dozens of trained professionals and academics. The document is based on evidence and encompasses a variety of theoretical works and concepts. In this paper, each of the nine essentials will be analyzed from the standpoint of its use for clinical practice, as it is paramount to better understand the significance of the paper.

Background for Practice from Sciences and Humanities

This essential is extremely relevant for practice, as a trained nurse needs to be aware of all recent methods of treatment, prevention, and other scientific discoveries that are relevant to their field of practice. Moreover, each nurse needs to possess a set of skills for adequate analysis and evaluation of the knowledge gathered from an article. Master-level nurses who happen to obtain such skills and meet this essential can become valuable assets to any clinic or health care setting. The reason for this is the continuing increase in the quality and reliability of their medical knowledge. Therefore, the first essential is critical for nursing practice.

Organizational and Systems Leadership

According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (2011), organizational and systems leadership are paramount for nurses with a master’s degree. This idea can be supported by the fact that leadership is a necessary skill in any health care setting due to the stressful conditions of the working environment. A good leader can often find a way to improve the performance of his or her unit making it more effective at care delivery (Pullen, 2016). A systems perspective is also a practical competence that allows nurses in the field to be better at decision-making as they consider the multifaceted nature of the environment, patient’s needs, and other factors.

Quality Improvement and Safety

One of the most paramount essentials for nursing practice is quality improvement and safety. This competence allows nurses to have not only knowledge necessary for effective daily operation, but also extra information on how to become a better medic. Improvement of one’s practice is a necessary condition for the development of the whole unit. The safety component of the essential is equally important because of the moral obligation of health providers to ensure that a patient’s life and health are not in any kind of danger. Both components can significantly improve nursing practice and assist professionals in delivering the best care possible in any setting.

Translating and Integrating Scholarship into Practice

The usage of scholarly data to improve one’s performance as a professional in a setting that requires such improvement is the key to meeting this essential. In its meaning, it is similar to the first essential with the difference being hidden in the details. This essential is aimed mostly at helping nurses find, process, and apply academic knowledge that is directly pertaining to their field of practice. On the other hand, the first essential revolves around general knowledge and skills to analyze scientific data and use it in practice. In light of this, it seems to be reasonable to stress the importance of establishing a connection between research and practice. Nursing professionals with a master’s degree should definitely search for such a connection.

Informatics and Healthcare Technologies

The technology found a way into nurses’ daily conduct a long time ago. Due to the continuous improvement and change that devices undergo every year, nurses are required to be on the verge of all modern technological improvements. This essential is paramount for practice as it urges all medical personnel to seek and constantly update their knowledge in the sphere of health care technologies. For a nurse, it is always paramount to be proficient in using any available technology in their care setting, as it can be critical for saving lives. In addition to that, meeting this essential improves the attractiveness of a professional for modern clinics with advanced equipment.

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Health Policy and Advocacy

Legal and policy aspects of the nursing profession are equally important and challenging as the treatment procedures themselves (Bosch & Mansell, 2015). Being able to navigate in the field of policymaking and becoming an advocate for the nursing profession is critical for improving practice conditions. A graduate who meets this essential can become a valuable asset to the clinic and to the nursing community, as he or she is able to contribute his knowledge of the healthcare system to make it better. When health policies align with the needs of both patients, hospitals, and nurses, the delivery of the best quality of care becomes possible. Therefore, the claim for the significance of this essential for nursing practice is justified.

Interprofessional Collaboration for Improving Patient and Population Health Outcomes

Synergy among health professionals is considered one of the most important aspects of daily practice (Bosch & Mansell, 2015). Being able to find common ground regarding the treatment of patients, general tolerance for everybody’s opinion, and recognition of each team member’s skills is vital for any practice setting. This essential incorporates the skills and knowledge necessary to be an advocate for the nursing profession and, at the same time, be respectful of other health care professionals in the field.

What is more important, a person who met this essential should be able to increase the productivity of the hospital staff by creating strong professional bonds between various specialists. Thus, the establishment of healthy relationships among the medical personnel is paramount for nursing practice and the quality of care.

Clinical Prevention and Population Health for Improving Health

Prevention can be considered one of the most effective ways of improving the longevity of the population (CDC, 2018). A nursing professional who is not only aware of the concept but also has the knowledge and skills to improve currently undertaken measures in this field will always be needed in healthcare. In practice, preventing illnesses could save many lives and taxpayers money as hospitals will require less financial support to accommodate and treat patients.

Working to advance clinical prevention and improve population health is vital for the health care sector on the whole and makes the practice of a nurse easier, as the incidence of serious illnesses decreases. This essential aligns with the moral obligation of a nurse to become an advocate of patients and care for their health in a global way that is beyond current treatment objectives.

Master’s-Level Nursing Practice

Preparing professionals who are capable of outstanding performance in multiple care settings is critical for the current state of the health care sector in the U.S. According to Munari et al. (2014), the professional and scientific community recognizes the need for trained nursing professionals in many fields of health care. Master-level nurses can significantly influence the quality of care that is provided in clinics, hospitals, care homes, out-patient settings, and other places where is the need for highly skilled and capable nursing personnel. Moreover, master-level nurses could improve the image of the nursing profession by providing the best quality of medical service.


Overall, the essentials of master’s education in nursing identified by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing is a paramount evidence-based educational intervention proposal that is capable of changing the system of graduate education in the sphere of nursing. The changes proposed in the article can significantly improve the quality of master’s programs. Each essential is vital for nursing practice in a unique way. A master-level nurse must meet all of them to truly become a valuable asset for the nursing community and hospitals, an outstanding professional, and a patients advocate.

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American Association of Colleges of Nursing. (2011). The essentials of master’s education in nursing. Web.

Bosch, B., & Mansell, H. (2015). Interprofessional collaboration in health care. Canadian Pharmacists Journal, 148(4), 176–179.

CDC. (2018). Preventive health care: Gateway to health communication. Web.

Munari, D. B., Parada, C. M. G. de L., Gelbcke, F. de L., Silvino, Z. R., Ribeiro, L. C. M., & Scochi, C. G. S. (2014). Professional Master’s degree in Nursing: knowledge production and challenges. Revista Latino-Americana de Enfermagem, 22(2), 204–210.

Pullen, R. L. J. (2016). Leadership in nursing practice. Nursing Made Incredibly Easy, 14(3), 26-34.

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