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The California Endowment Awards New Funding to AACN to Prepare a Culturally Competent Graduate Nursing Workforce

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Press Release
For Immediate Release

The California Endowment Awards New Funding to AACN to Prepare a
Culturally Competent Graduate Nursing Workforce

Cultural Competencies for Baccalaureate Nursing Education and Faculty Toolkit Now Available Online

WASHINGTON, DC, August 27, 2008 – AACN and The California Endowment announce today the launch of a new initiative to enhance the ability of nurses prepared in graduate nursing programs to provide culturally appropriate care. This groundbreaking effort entails identifying a set of expectations for graduates of master’s and doctoral nursing programs and creating faculty resources needed to develop nursing expertise in cultural competency. Generous funding from The California Endowment will be used to support this important work which will occur from August 2008 through January 2010.

“Nurses serving in advanced roles must be well-equipped to provide care that acknowledges the unique needs of our nation’s increasingly diverse patient population,” said AACN President Fay Raines. “AACN applauds The California Endowment for their commitment to enhancing the preparation of graduate-level nurses and increasing access to culturally sensitive care for underserved populations in California and across the nation.”

Titled Preparing a Culturally Competent Master’s and Doctorally-Prepared Nursing Workforce, this initiative will strengthen the focus on cultural competency in the national sets of standards for graduate nursing programs developed by AACN, specifically The Essentials of Master's Education for Advanced Practice Nursing and The Essentials of Doctoral Education for Advanced Nursing Practice. As a result of this effort, these documents will be significantly enriched to provide a more robust exposure to the concepts and knowledge base that will assure cultural competence in nurses prepared at an advanced level.

Key outcomes of this project include:

  • Convening an expert advisory panel of nursing educators and clinicians to develop a framework of expectations for master’s and doctoral students to achieve in the area of cultural competence.
  • Developing a toolkit for graduate nursing faculty and students that includes case studies on cultural competency, a list of exemplar nursing programs that have successfully embedded cultural competency into their curricula, and a directory of websites and journal articles focused on this issue.
  • Piloting a one-day cultural competency course for 18 graduate nursing faculty and clinicians in California using the new competencies and toolkit materials.
  • Publishing all resulting materials on the AACN Web site and disseminating this work broadly to all nursing schools and colleagues in the fields of medicine, dentistry and pharmacy.

This new initiative is essentially an extension of the Preparing a Culturally Competent Nursing Workforce project, which was also supported by The California Endowment. Through this effort, AACN developed a set of cultural competencies for baccalaureate nursing students and a toolkit for faculty to incorporate this work into lectures and clinical practicums. With endorsement by the AACN Board of Directors in October 2007, the AACN Task Force on the Revision of the Essentials of Baccalaureate Nursing Education integrated these competencies into the new standards now under development for baccalaureate level nursing programs. The online faculty toolkit developed through this project is posted on the AACN Web site at

To date, the Cultural Competency in Baccalaureate Nursing Education document has been endorsed by a number of national organizations, including the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses, American Nurses Association, American Psychiatric Nurses Association, Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association, National Coalition of Ethnic Minority Nurse Associations, and National Council of State Boards of Nursing. To access these competencies, see

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) is the national voice for university and four-year college education programs in nursing. Representing more than 630 member schools of nursing at public and private institutions nationwide, AACN's educational, research, governmental advocacy, data collection, publications, and other programs work to establish quality standards for bachelor's- and graduate-degree nursing education, assist deans and directors to implement those standards, influence the nursing profession to improve health care, and promote public support of baccalaureate and graduate nursing education, research, and practice.

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Robert Rosseter, 202-463-6930, ext. 231