AACN Essential PaperAlejandro D Landa MoralesFlorida National UniversityAACN Essential PaperAbstractThe nursing profession is often faced with changes and challenges that need innovativeness and new thinking. Therefore, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing came up with nine essentials to be incorporated into the master’s education program. The AACN is an organization that voices the needs of the nursing profession through the development of school curricula. The curriculum is designed to meet the current and future needs of nursing professionals as they attend to the needs of patients as well as the challenges within the industry. A descriptive research study involving the collection of qualitative and quantitative data on the essentials of AACN essentials of master’s education in nursing is sought. This study resulted in the collection of data that enhanced the description and appraisal of the essentials of master’s education in the field of nursing as developed by the AACN. The collected data were analyzed and presented using the descriptive statistics method particularly correlation matrix and multiple regression analysis. The essence of a higher degree is to equip individuals with more expertise and competence in their career. Therefore, associations have been created to assist individuals undertaking master’s programs in attaining professionalism competence. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) has similarly played a major role in the creation of a master’s curricula for nurses. Graduates of the higher degree program in nursing are equipped with broad competence and understanding expertise. Thus, this level of education provides individuals with a fuller understanding of the nursing discipline necessary for leadership and a higher level of practice. The ProblemThe clinical environments continuously undergo changes resulting in complex challenges faced by nursing professionals. These changes include the persistent need to meet the safety of patients and the need to reduce health care cost. Patient safety has been an increasing challenge especially due to hospital-acquired infections. Besides, the quality of care needed by patients is affected by other factors such as the increase in educational, therapeutic and diagnostic technologies which pose as challenges in the clinical environment CITATION Alf15 l 1033 (Alfred et al., 2015). These changes in the clinical environment have resulted in other current challenges faced by nursing such as economic constraints and faculty shortages incompetence. Therefore, the clinical environment changes and its challenges demand new thinking and innovativeness. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing has been able to meet these changes and challenges by incorporating then and their solutions in the curricula of master’s level of education in nursing. The AACN acts as the voice for a higher degree in nursing education programs in the United States. The major role of this organization is to represent schools of nursing in the development of curricula that meet the changes and challenges in the clinical environs CITATION Esd16 l 1033 (Esden & Nichols, 2016). This study aims to describe and appraise the essentials of higher education developed by AACN in nursing. The essentials of higher education in nursing created by AACN are hypothesized as a reflection of both current and yet to come nursing practices at the master’s level. This reflection on current and future nursing practice means that it meets the need for a professional application of evidence-based practice CITATION Esd16 l 1033 (Esden & Nichols, 2016). Hence, the association has become the driving force for academic innovation and excellence in master’s education in nursing. The Nine Essentials of Master’s Program in NursingThe conceptualization for the higher degree education program allows nurses to gain understanding and competence through nine essentials. The nine essentials of the higher education program cover the various areas of activities in any healthcare facility as follows.Essential I: Background for Sciences and Humanities PracticeThis essential recognizes the fact that master’s education integrates knowledge from various disciplines. These disciplines include biopsychosocial fields, quality improvement, public health, organizational sciences and genetics CITATION Esd16 l 1033 (Esden & Nichols, 2016). These disciplines provide knowledge essential for the continual improvement of services in the nursing profession. Essential II: Administrative and the structure of LeadershipThis essential is an important component of the delivery of eminence and safe patient care. Leadership skills play a vital role in critical decision making and an emphasis on ethics CITATION Alf15 l 1033 (Alfred et al., 2015). Besides, leadership skills facilitate the development of a proactive system with efficient work relationship. Essential III: Quality Development and SafetyRecognizes the need for articulacy in the tools, methods, standards and performance measures relevant to quality in an organization.Essential IV: Interpreting and Assimilating Education into practice Master’s prepared nurses have enlightened on research findings application within the practice setting as well dissemination of results, Use of research outcomes to create change and resolve practice problems.Essential V: Healthcare Informatics and TechnologiesInvolves the application of informatics and technologies in the coordination and delivery of healthcare services.Essential VI: Advocacy and Health PolicyEnables a master’s prepared nurse to be able to develop policies and employ advocacy strategies in the delivery of healthcare services.Essential VII: Interprofessional Collaboration for Improving Health OutcomesRecognizes the need for communication, collaboration, and consultations with other health care professionals to manage care.Essential VIII: Clinical Prevention and Population Health for Health ImprovementsEsden & Nichols, (2016) state that this essential involves the incorporation of wide-ranging, patient-centered and culturally appropriate concepts in the development, delivery, and coordination of evidence-based health prevention and promotion services among populations.Essential IX: Nursing Practices at Higher Degree LevelThis essential IX defines the higher degree level of nursing practice as an intervention that influences the health outcomes for populations. Hence, nurses qualified for higher education must have an advanced level of understanding of nursing and relevant disciplines as well as the ability to integrate this understanding into practice.Design and ProceduresThe study was a descriptive study that aimed to collect data on the AACN essentials of master’s education in nursing. Hence, the study involved the higher education prepared nurses in colleges as well as those working in healthcare facilities in Miami Florida in the United States. The study participants were selected using random sampling technique to form the population. Random sampling from the targeted population resulted in the selection of 150 participants for the study. Hence, data was collected from the selected participants using data collection techniques selected by the researcher. The main technique used was questionnaires prepared by the researcher and approved by the researcher’s supervisor following a pilot study. The pilot study was conducted on a similar population just like the targeted population which proved the reliability and validity of the research findings.Qualitative and quantitative data were collected in this study. The data collected was based on both dependent and independent variables. The dependent variable was the AACN essentials of higher education program in nursing. Conversely, the independent variables included methods of quality improvement, system knowledge, outcome measurement, and skills of effective leadership. These variables formed the basis for the formulation of the research questionnaires hence the generation of the research findings. Data Analysis and PresentationThe analysis of the collected data allowed the researcher to evaluate findings and arrived at valid conclusions. The study employed a statistical descriptive method particularly correlation matrix and multiple regression analysis for the presentation of the bio-data CITATION Hol16 l 1033 (Holcomb, 2016). Despite the large quantities of data, the researcher was able to successfully utilize the statistical descriptive methods to conclude the AACN essentials of master’s education in nursing. Besides, correlation matrix and multiple regression assisted the researcher to prove the study hypothesis. The study hypothesized that AACN essentials of higher education program in nursing are a reflection of both current and yet to come nursing practice at the master’s level. Additionally, the researcher utilized the statistical package for social sciences (SPSS) which is a software tool for data analysis CITATION Hol16 l 1033 (Holcomb, 2016). The qualitative data were analyzed using content analysis which allowed the researcher to organize and categorize information into themes and patterns. Conclusion and ImplicationsThe results findings from the analyzed data found out that most of the healthcare providers believe that the essentials of higher education created by AACN in nursing are a reflection of both current and forthcoming nursing practice at the higher degree level. The targeted population affirmed that the nine essentials of AACN significantly contribute to methods of quality improvement, system knowledge, outcome measurement and skills of effective leadership in healthcare facilities. It is quite clear that the AACN play a significant role in the development of school curricula and preparing Master’s-prepared nurses to conquer challenges in the clinical environment. AACN should consider involving representatives from the nursing profession in practice to give opinions on what to be included in the curricula. This representation will enhance the relevance of the curricula to the practice within the field hence increasing the quality of patients care even further. Additionally, involving representatives from the profession will create any implication that AACN truly cares for the progression of the nursing profession at the master’s level. This study from a personal perspective assesses that the nine essentials of the AACN for master’s education is a significant contribution to the nursing profession. As discussed earlier, the nine essentials of AACN master’s education in nursing provides individuals with knowledge and skills that increase their competence within the nursing profession.ReferencesAlfred, D., Chilton, J., Connor, D., Deal, B., Fountain, R., Hensarling, J., & Klotz, L. (2015). Preparing for disasters: Education and management strategies explored. Nurse Education in Practice, 15(1), 82-89. doi: 10.1016/j.nepr.2014.08.001.Esden, J. L., & Nichols, M. R. (2016). Transforming Post-Masters DNP education: Student perspectives about their educational experiences. Presented at the STTI/NLN Nursing Education Research Conference, Washington, DC.Holcomb, Z. C. (2016). Fundamentals of descriptive statistics (1st ed.). Routledge.