Nursing is an incredibly demanding profession, and the training of future nurses is equally challenging. Essentials of Baccalaureate Education for Professional Nursing Practice, a compendium of documents compiled by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, can be viewed as the cornerstone of contemporary nursing curricula. According to AACN (2008), the field of health care is subject to constant changes and experiences scientific advances, patient demographic shifts, patient access to information growth, as well as the emergence of new technologies. Therefore, all healthcare professionals, including nurses, should be adequately prepared in order to be able to deliver high-quality care to patients and uphold the standards of the profession and the field. The Essentials document examines the purpose of nursing education and exhaustively discusses the role of nurses as providers of care, designers, coordinators, care managers, and advocates for patients (AACN, 2008). Overall, the text notes that the role of nursing practitioners has changed considerably throughout the years, and the contemporary standards for nursing education should reflect such shifts.
The document comprehensively describes the standards that nursing programs in the United States are required to follow in order to prepare highly competent nursing professionals. In particular, ACCN (2008) emphasizes the necessity of broad-minded and unbiased education for nurses who may work with patients from different backgrounds throughout their careers and are expected to deliver quality care to them. The document lists the knowledge of evidence-based practice, information management, and information technology as crucial essentials that directly affect the quality of care delivered to clients (AACN, 2008). Furthermore, nurses are expected to know their field intimately, be familiar with healthcare policy, regulations, and financial aspects, and be able to communicate and collaborate with other healthcare professionals to help patients (AACN, 2008). The ethics of the nursing profession and the education on its fundamental values include compassion, integrity, social justice, independence, as well as human dignity (ACNN, 2008). Thus, upon the completion of their selected program, nurses are expected to be able to work with patients and other professionals, providing quality care and understanding its complexity and the challenges of the field as a whole.
It should be noted that although the Essentials of Baccalaureate Education for Professional Nursing Practice document is primarily aimed at educational organizations offering bachelor-level programs to aspiring nurses. Nevertheless, persons considering dedicating their life to caring for patients should get acquitted with the document in order to better understand their potential future profession and prepare for the challenges it brings. According to Sundean et al. (2019), the contemporary health care field is exponentially complex, and the essentials outlined in the document can help prepare future nurses to navigate through it by developing entry-level competencies. Nevertheless, it should be noted that the essentials for professional nursing practice will likely change in the future. Thus, they will need to reflect the rising needs within the healthcare field, for example, diagnostic mistake reduction and provision of adequate care to LGBTQ+ patients (Burton et al., 2021; Gleason et al., 2021). Overall, the Essentials document illuminates the standards of nursing practice and the values required for it. Moreover, it offers a detailed map of the path nursing students are about to take and thoroughly answers the question, “What does it mean to be a nurse?”
AACN. (2008). The essentials of baccalaureate education for professional nursing practice. American Association of Colleges of Nursing. Web.
Burton, C. W., Nolasco, K., & Holmes, D. (2021). Queering nursing curricula: Understanding and increasing attention to LGBTQIA+ health needs. Journal of Professional Nursing, 37(1), 101−107. Web.
Gleason, K., Harkless, G., Stanley, J., Olson, A. P., & Graber, M. L. (2021). The critical need for nursing education to address the diagnostic process. Nursing Outlook, 69(3), 362-369. Web.
Sundean, L. J., White, K. R., Thompson, L. S., & Prybil, L. D. (2019). Governance education for nurses: Preparing nurses for the future. Journal of Professional Nursing, 35(5), 346−352. Web.