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The Essentials of Master's Education for Advanced Practice Nursing

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The publication that defines the essential elements of master's education for advanced practice roles in nursing is now available from AACN. The Essentials of Master's Education for Advanced Practice Nursing provides an important framework for designing and assessing master's education programs for advanced practice nursing. This 48-page publication is the result of a consensus-building process that included nursing educators, clinicians, executives, and researchers, as well as numerous nursing organizations.

In the master's Essentials, you will find...

  • Curriculum model for master's nursing education
  • Outline of essential curriculum content
  • Graduate core curriculum content
  • Advanced practice nursing core curriculum
  • Clinical experiences recommendations

...And much more!

Background

In 1994, the AACN's Board of Directors established a task force to identify the essential elements of master's education for advanced practice roles in nursing. The Board called for an inclusive process in which all parties interested in master's education in nursing would have the opportunity to participate in the initial stages of the definition. To that end, a series of regional meetings was convened to provide a national forum for the development of a consensus-based document defining the essential curricular elements of master's education in nursing for advanced practice as a clinical nurse specialist, nurse practitioner, nurse anesthetist, or nurse midwife.

The Essentials of Master's Education for Advanced Practice Nursing report is the result of an 18-month process in which a wide range of nursing educators, clinicians, executives, and researchers met to discuss, debate, and direct the task force in its work. In addition to the more than 500 individuals who participated in the consensus-building process, twenty-one nursing organizations with an interest in advanced practice nursing participated in the process. The strong participation and important contributions made by representatives of other nursing organizations were deliberately sought by AACN in order to ensure the development of a document that was congruent with and would inform statements on the education of nurses for advanced practice developed by other organizations.

The original intent of the master's Essentials was to focus predominantly on the education of nurses for advanced practice nursing in direct care roles. After deliberations among participating individuals, organizations, and task force members, a consensus formed that two discrete and related components of the essentials should be developed-a statement of the essential core content for all master's educated nurses and a statement of the essential core content for all advanced practice nurses in direct care roles.

The master's curriculum is outlined in the Essentials as having three components:

  • Graduate Nursing Core: foundational curriculum content deemed essential for all students who pursue a master's degree in nursing regardless of specialty or functional focus.
  • Advanced Practice Nursing Core: essential content to provide direct patient/client services at an advanced level; and
  • Specialty Curriculum Content: those clinical and didactic learning experiences identified and defined by the specialty nursing organizations.

In addition to definitions of the essential components in these areas, the Essentials includes recommendations for minimum hours of direct clinical experience.