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The California Endowment and AACN Advance Cultural Competency in the Graduate Nursing Workforce

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Press Release
For Immediate Release

The California Endowment and AACN Advance Cultural Competency in the Graduate Nursing Workforce

Competency Frameworks and Faculty Tool Kits Now Available to Enhance
How New Nurses Are Educated in Baccalaureate and Graduate Programs

WASHINGTON, DC, January 27, 2010 – In August 2008, AACN and the California Endowment launched an initiative to enhance the ability of nurses prepared in graduate nursing programs to provide culturally appropriate and sensitive care. This groundbreaking effort, which mirrored work completed at the undergraduate level, entailed identifying a set of expectations for graduates of master’s and doctoral nursing programs and creating faculty resources needed to foster expertise in cultural competency. Generous funding from The California Endowment was used to support this important project, which is now complete and available to nursing faculty nationwide via the Web.

“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 beyond.”

Titled Preparing a Culturally Competent Master’s and Doctorally-Prepared Nursing Workforce, this initiative was launched to strengthen the focus on cultural competency in the national sets of standards for graduate nursing programs developed by AACN, including The Essentials of Master's Education in Nursing, which is currently under revision. As a result of this effort, this document 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 included:

  • 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 tool kit 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 its curricula, and a directory of Web sites and journal articles focused on this issue.

  • Piloting a one-day cultural competency course for 35 graduate nursing faculty and clinicians in California in December 2009 using the new competencies and tool kit 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.

To date, the Cultural Competencies for Master’s and Doctoral Nursing Education have been endorsed by a number of national organizations, including the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses, American Nurses Association, Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association, Oncology Nursing Society, National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners, and numerous other minority nursing groups. To access these competencies and the faculty tool kit, as well as the resources developed for undergraduate students and faculty, see

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing is the national voice for university and four-year-college education programs in nursing. Representing more than 640 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. See

The California Endowment is a private, statewide health foundation established in 1996 to expand access to affordable, quality health care for underserved individuals and communities, and to promote fundamental improvements in the health status of all Californians. See

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