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US Nursing Master’s Education and Its Essentials


The AACN Essentials of Master’s education in nursing is designed to cover all of the core functions and roles of a qualified nursing professional including collaboration, leadership, quality improvement, putting evidence into practice, advocacy and policy, disease prevention and health promotion, the use of technologies, and innovative approach. The nursing graduates must be aware of these essentials, match the requirements they outline, and use them as guidance for future practice.

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Healthcare is known as one of the most rapidly developing industries in the contemporary world. It is flexible, and the professionals operating within healthcare delivery career fields are to be able to adjust to the changing environments and thrive for excellence and lifelong learning. At the same time, this professional sphere is highly complicated and complex as it demands that the practitioners possess the elaborate professional knowledge applicable in contemporary clinical settings. As a result, a new approach to the conceptualization and quality of the master’s education in nursing is required. This paper is focused on the appraisal and evaluation of the current essentials of master’s education in nursing formulated by the AACN (the American Association of Colleges of Nursing).

The Essentials

Due to the constantly evolving environments of the healthcare industry, the new graduates must be prepared to fulfill a set of versatile functions such as:

  • The maintenance of lifelong learning and the implementation of excellent practices and culture
  • Facilitate the interprofessional collaboration and teamwork
  • Lead and implement change and innovative approaches for improvement of the care quality
  • Advance the care services throughout the entire healthcare system
  • Build new nursing practices
  • Put evidence and research data into practice (AACN, 2011).

The current essentials of master’s education in nursing formulated by the AACN are designed for the purpose to help the learners obtain a deeper understanding of their profession and implement leadership and teamwork practices in diverse environments and situations thus facilitating lifelong progress and advancement contributing to the success of the practitioners.

Essential I

The first essential refers to the engagement of the background for practice based on sciences and humanities. It inspires the nurses to rely on multiple perspectives and scientific approaches to care, facilitating a well-rounded use of scientific and expert knowledge.

Essential II

The second essential is dedicated to leadership (organizational and systems). Leadership is associated with the engagement and the inspiration of staff by the individuals in charge; without productive leadership, the provision of quality services is unlikely (Roussel, Harris, & Thomas, 2015). Leaders are responsible for planning, budgeting, guidance, problem-solving, and motivation. This essential is necessary for the future development and maintenance of healthcare systems.

Essential III

The third essential is focused on the quality and safety of healthcare services. It requires that the graduates are proficient in the implementation of the methods and tools necessary for the provision of quality care and for measuring and monitoring its integrity. Patient safety and quality are the core responsibilities of a nursing professional that involve a multitude of tasks and spheres (Arries, 2014). Adherence to the standards of safety and quality prevents medical malpractice and errors.

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Essential IV

The fourth essential concern the integration of the scientific results into practice. This aspect is one of the issues in contemporary medicine due to the lengthy time lags between the generation of research results and their integration into practice (Hanney et al., 2015). The knowledge of this essential will help the practitioners address the lags and facilitate the benefits of the speedy translation of scientific findings into practice.

Essential V

The fifth essential covers the use of the healthcare technologies and informatics that play a significant role in nursing and are directly related to the issues of security, ethics, privacy, high-quality care, and innovations (Lee, 2014). This essential is challenging but very important.

Essential VI

The sixth essential includes the graduates’ advocacy skills, as well as their ability to impact their professional field participating in the creation of the new policies and standards for the maintenance of high-quality care.

Essential VII

The seventh essential stands for the association between the professionals from different backgrounds for the improvement of the nursing care; this is one of the primary strategies helping to address complex medical issues by creating flexible and multifunctional teams of the professionals (Bridges, Davidson, Odegard, Maki, & Tomkowiak, 2011). This essential is in place to ensure that the graduates are prepared to work in cross-discipline teams and collaborative environments matching the complex health needs of the patients.

Essential VIII

The eighth essential refers to the clinical prevention and health promotion based on the client-centered form of care that relies on the best practices, evidence-based strategies, and culturally appropriate and holistic approaches towards the patients and health issues.

Essential IX

The final essential stands for the practitioner’s ability to demonstrate the level of professionalism corresponding to their qualification that involves advanced knowledge and understanding of all the required practices, standards, and essentials of the nursing care and the ability to perform respectively.


The essentials of Master’s education in nursing serve to guide the practitioners and emphasize the practices that are to be prioritized for the quality improvement in healthcare and the achievement of excellence in this incredibly changeable and fast-evolving professional field. The essentials monitor the directions taken by modern practitioners and facilitate the most progressive change and focuses.

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AACN. (2011). The essentials of Master’s education in nursing. Web.

Arries, E. J. (2014). Patient safety and quality in healthcare: Nursing ethics for ethics quality. Nursing Ethics, 21(1), 3-5.

Bridges, D., Davidson, R., Soule Odegard, P., Maki, I., & Tomkowiak, J. (2011). Interprofessional collaboration: Three best practice models of interprofessional education. Medical Education Online, 16, 1-10.

Hanney, S. R., Castle-Clarke, S., Grant, J., Guthrie, S., Henshall, C., Mestre-Ferrandiz, J., … Wooding, S. (2015). How long does biomedical research take? Studying the time taken between biomedical and health research and its translation into products, policy, and practice. Health Research Policy and Systems, 13(1).

Lee, A. (2014). The role of informatics in nursing. Nursing Made Incredibly Easy, 12(4), 55.

Roussel, L. A., Harris, J. L., & Thomas, P. L. (2015). Management and leadership for nurse administrators. New York, NY: Jones & Bartlett Publishers.

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