Master's Essentials Tool Kit

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Graduate nursing education advances innovation and strengthens the leadership needed to improve healthcare delivery. Education at this level incorporates the foundational knowledge, skills, and competencies needed to thrive in increasingly complex clinical environments.  Nursing education is undergoing major change as the profession reconceptualizes master’s education and transitions advanced practice education to the doctoral level via Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) programs.  Calls to reduce healthcare costs, persistent concerns about patient safety and the quality of care, and dramatic increases in diagnostic, therapeutic, and educational technologies all demand new thinking around the nature of graduate nursing education.

Together with The Essentials of Doctoral Education for Advanced Nursing Practice (AACN, 2006) and the Research-Focused Doctoral Program in Nursing: Pathways to Excellence (AACN, 2010), the Essentials of Master’s Education in Nursing (AACN, 2011) provides the foundation and guidance for facilitating this transition. Given the seamless learning experiences and professional growth called for by the Institute of Medicine’s Future of Nursing report (2010), changing master’s education in nursing must take into account the nature of baccalaureate and doctoral education and how students can transition easily from one degree program to the next.   Nurse educators aim to design curricula so these transitions are logical, integrated, and provide accountability for specific competencies while stimulating intellectual creativity and scientific thinking while advancing career opportunities.   Current challenges faced by schools of nursing, including faculty shortages and economic constraints, require groundbreaking and novel approaches to curricular design. New and evolving approaches to interprofessional education, academic-service partnerships, and clinical and scientific learning stimulate innovative thinking about turning these challenges into opportunities.

The goals of this tool kit are to:

1. Provide key resources that will assist schools as they engage in curricular redesign to incorporate the Master’s Essentials;

2. Suggest integrative learning strategies that will strengthen clinical and scientific learning and leadership development in efficient and effective ways;

3. Stimulate development of strong academic-practice partnerships to improve clinical and scientific learning;

4. Provide a forum for sharing innovative curricular and program ideas across schools.

The Master’s Essentials Tool Kit has been designed to be dynamic, using a Web-based platform that allows for additions and changes as new ideas are developed.

Task Force on the Master’s Essentials Tool Kit


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