The dynamic nature of the healthcare delivery system The dynamic nature of the healthcare delivery system These Essentials are core for all master’s programs in

The dynamic nature of the healthcare delivery system

The dynamic nature of the healthcare delivery system

These Essentials are core for all master’s programs in nursing and provide the necessary curricular elements and framework, regardless of focus, major, or intended practice setting. These Essentials delineate the outcomes expected of all graduates of master’s nursing programs. These Essentials are not prescriptive directives on the design of programs. Consistent with the Baccalaureate and Doctorate of Nursing Practice Essentials, this document does not address preparation for specific roles, which may change and emerge over time. These Essentials also provide guidance for master’s programs during a time when preparation for specialty advanced nursing practice is transitioning to the doctoral level.

Master’s education remains a critical component of the nursing education trajectory to prepare nurses who can address the gaps resulting from growing healthcare needs. Nurses who obtain the competencies outlined in these Essentials have significant value for current and emerging roles in healthcare delivery and design through advanced nursing knowledge and higher level leadership skills for improving health outcomes. For some nurses, master’s education equips them with a fulfilling lifetime expression of their mastery area. For others, this core is a graduate foundation for doctoral education. Each preparation is valued.

Introduction

The dynamic nature of the healthcare delivery system underscores the need for the nursing profession to look to the future and anticipate the healthcare needs for which nurses must be prepared to address. The complexities of health and nursing care today make expanded nursing knowledge a necessity in contemporary care settings. The transformation of health care and nursing practice requires a new conceptualization of master’s education. Master’s education must prepare the graduate to:

• Lead change to improve quality outcomes,

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• Advance a culture of excellence through lifelong learning,

• Build and lead collaborative interprofessional care teams,

• Navigate and integrate care services across the healthcare system,

• Design innovative nursing practices, and

• Translate evidence into practice.

Graduates of master’s degree programs in nursing are prepared with broad knowledge and practice expertise that builds and expands on baccalaureate or entry-level nursing practice. This preparation provides graduates with a fuller understanding of the discipline of nursing in order to engage in higher level practice and leadership in a variety of settings and commit to lifelong learning. For those nurses seeking a terminal degree, the highest level of preparation within the dis cipline, the new conceptualization for master’s education will allow for seamless movement into a research or practice-focused doctoral program (AACN, 2006, 2010). The dynamic nature of the healthcare delivery system

The nine Essentials addressed in this document delineate the knowledge and skills that all nurses prepared in master’s nursing programs acquire. These Essentials guide the preparation of graduates for diverse areas of practice in any healthcare setting.

• Essential I: Background for Practice from Sciences and Humanities o Recognizes that the master’s-prepared nurse integrates scientific findings

from nursing, biopsychosocial fields, genetics, public health, quality improvement, and organizational sciences for the continual improvement of nursing care across diverse settings.

• Essential II: Organizational and Systems Leadership o Recognizes that organizational and systems leadership are critical to the

promotion of high quality and safe patient care. Leadership skills are needed that emphasize ethical and critical decision making, effective working relationships, and a systems-perspective.

• Essential III: Quality Improvement and Safety o Recognizes that a master’s-prepared nurse must be articulate in the

methods, tools, performance measures, and standards related to quality, as well as prepared to apply quality principles within an organization.

• Essential IV: Translating and Integrating Scholarship into Practice

o Recognizes that the master’s-prepared nurse applies research outcomes within the practice setting, resolves practice problems, works as a change agent, and disseminates results.

• Essential V: Informatics and Healthcare Technologies

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o Recognizes that the master’s-prepared nurse uses patient-care technologies to deliver and enhance care and uses communication technologies to integrate and coordinate care.

• Essential VI: Health Policy and Advocacy o Recognizes that the master’s-prepared nurse is able to intervene at the

system level through the policy development process and to employ advocacy strategies to influence health and health care.

• Essential VII: Interprofessional Collaboration for Improving Patient and Population Health Outcomes

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