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The AACN Essentials of Master’s Education in Nursing


The present paper discusses the plan for a literature review project on the topic of the role of the Essentials of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (2011) in the elimination of the barriers that exist in the US for the advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) roles (Altman, Butler, & Shern, 2016). It contains a discussion of the important phases (steps) of the project, which are arranged in a timeline, and an overview of resources, including funding. The proposed research is expected to take up between five and eight and a half months, and it can be carried out within a low budget, even though more expensive options can be chosen as well.

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The Steps for Implementing the Project

According to an Oxford handbook on healthcare research by Ray, Fitzpatrick, Golubic, and Fisher (2016), the major parts of a study include determining the topic, planning, implementing, and finishing the research. The proposed project uses this model and expands it by incorporating seven phases, many of which should overlap. Since the topic is already established, the beginning of the project is going to include the planning phase, and the current paper can be regarded as a part of it. The present phase also incorporates several elements of literature research, which would be expected to be carried out throughout the timeline since the project takes the form of a literature review. Thus, the research can be regarded as the first part of the implementation stage, and it is the core of the study and its main activity, which is why it is going to take up most of the time dedicated to the work. The research is not going to be equally vigorous throughout the project; however, the second phase, which will follow the planning stage, will be dedicated only to research activities. Before and after it, the research is going to be less vigorous and can be aimed, for example, at considering appropriate methodology or finding the context for the implications of the study.

The third stage can be regarded as the second part of the implementation of the project, and it is a preliminary analysis: it is going to review the gathered data and determine the appropriate methodology for its analysis. Literature reviews tend to gather varied data, including qualitative, quantitative, and mixed studies (Booth, Papaioannou, & Sutton, 2016; Comerasamy & Siu, 2013). The proposed paper will be aimed at reviewing recent literature, but it does not restrict itself to searching for a particular type of information. As a result, the specific methodology will be easier to determine once the data is already gathered. The third stage is unlikely to take up more than a week.

The fourth stage is the analysis proper, which will finish the implementation part of the project. It will use the established methodology to make the literature review meaningful and glean insights for practice or theory from it. This stage may also overlap with the previous one and the next one, that is, the drafting of the final report. The drafting is the first part of report preparation. It is singled out because it is likely to overlap with the stages of research, methodology, and analysis, which implies the possibility of revising and reconsidering the paper, while the preparation of the final report is likely to focus on the presentation of the data and conclusions, which does not presuppose extensive research activities. In general, report preparation is the final step of the project.

Apart from that, a specific phase of the work is feedback-related activities, which should include soliciting feedback and employing it for the benefit of the paper. Ray et al. (2016) repeatedly refer to the importance of feedback; it is also mentioned by other authors who consider the topic of nursing research (Booth et al., 2016, p. 143; Burns, Grove, & Gray, 2016, p. 185). Ray et al. (2016) specifically mention feedback as a part of the implementation element of a project. However, the present paper does not suggest limiting feedback soliciting to a particular stage.

There is a number of people who can be engaged in the process during varied phases of the work, and feedback may include the consideration of ideas, methodology, and even parts of the report. The people include peers, relatives, and possibly instructors. With peers, the process of feedback can also be mutually beneficial. Finally, the feedback might be received after the completion of the work. In this case, it cannot be used for the benefit of the paper, but it will be employed for future research. This and other phrases of the proposed study are summarized in Table 1. It should be pointed out that the time that is allocated to a literature review is likely to improve its rigor (Booth et al., 2013; Burns et al., 2016), which is why six months appear to be a more appropriate approximation for the second phase of the work. However, the timeline can be modified as the project progresses.

Table 1. The estimated timeline for the project.
Step Expected Time Notes
Planning phase. 1 week
Research. 4-6 months It starts after the planning phase and ends together with the drafting of the report.
Determination of methodology. Less than a week It starts after a sufficient amount of data is found to determine the type of analysis.
Analysis. 1-2 weeks Follows the methodology determination.
Report drafting. 2 weeks Follows and overlaps with analysis.
Finishing and presenting the report. 1 week Follows report drafting; ends the project.
Soliciting and responding to feedback Throughout the project; possibly, after the completion of the report


The primary resource that the project is expected to consume is time. Apart from that, it will require a device with access to the Internet and software, including word processing and possibly computing programs. Predominantly, the project will use e-libraries and electronic databases, paying particular attention to those devoted specifically to healthcare. MEDLINE appears to be the most popular healthcare database (Ray et al., 2016, p. 3). However, other databases that can be used include the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews or the Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (Burns et al., 2016, p. 420; Comerasamy & Siu, 2013, pp. 74-76; EBSCO Health, 2017). The use of several databases is supposed to improve the quality of a literature review (Burns et al., 2016, p. 168). There is a possibility that brick-and-mortar libraries will be visited as well.

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As was pointed out above, the specifics of the gathered data may affect the steps of the project, which is why they might also determine the required resources. Technically, the project is not expected to demand statistical analysis since the data is unlikely to include quantitative information in comparable formats that would create the basis for a meta-analysis. Still, in case such data is found, a statistical software may be required for the analysis. It should be pointed out that qualitative data can also be processed statistically (for example, after coding it), so in case the work can benefit from statistical analysis of qualitative data, it should be carried out. SPSS is among the most popular statistical programs (Ray et al., 2016), but it might also be substituted by other, less expensive, or even free and open-source options.


With respect to the money that should be allocated to the project, the few aspects that might require additional funding include the acquisition of statistics software and the access to libraries or article fees. Given the fact that the university library is already available for use, it would be expected that a large number of studies will be easy to access. However, in case an inaccessible but clearly helpful article is discovered, it can be purchased on its own. A preliminary investigation shows that the price of single articles can vary, but it can amount to $35-40 in the cases of Springer and Elsevier. Still, the acquisition of yearly subscriptions does not appear to be necessary for the time being. Possibly, during the course of the project, these considerations will change. To sum up, the project is relatively unlikely to require investments.


Due to the specifics of a literature review, the proposed study is likely to be relatively time-consuming, and its quality may be dependent on this characteristic, but it is not expected to require noticeable investments. In general, the timeline follows the four-step plan that is recommended by an Oxford-approved handbook of healthcare research, but it is expanded to suit the needs of the study. As for resources, most of them are already available, including the software and articles. The exception is statistical software, but it might be not required in the end. The proposed approximations can be modified, but they are unlikely to change radically.


Altman, S., Butler, A., & Shern, L. (2016). Assessing Progress on the Institute of Medicine report “The future of nursing. Washington, US: National Academies Press.

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

Booth, A., Papaioannou, D., & Sutton, A. (2016). Systematic approaches to a successful literature review (2nd ed.). New York, NY: SAGE.

Burns, N., Grove, S., & Gray, J. (2016). Understanding nursing research (6th ed.). Amsterdam, Netherlands: Elsevier.

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Comerasamy, H., & Siu, C. (2013). Doing a research project in nursing and midwifery. New York, NY: SAGE.

EBSCO Health. (2017). Products. Web.

Ray, S., Fitzpatrick, S., Golubic, R., & Fisher, S. (2016). Oxford handbook of clinical and healthcare research. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

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StudyCorgi. 2020. "The AACN Essentials of Master's Education in Nursing." December 7, 2020.


StudyCorgi. (2020) 'The AACN Essentials of Master's Education in Nursing'. 7 December.

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