American Association of Colleges of Nursing: Master’s Education


Master’s education in nursing is a vital component of becoming a professional as it prepares specialists who can adapt to the rapidly growing healthcare needs. To aid the students in outlining the critical factors in the nursing profession, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) compiled a list of essentials each graduate must acquire. Each component prepares nurses for the future work environment and describes skills vital for each individual. The work is going to analyze each essential, reflect on its effect on the clinical practice and provide the interpretations of the author vision on every component.

The rapid development of healthcare requires adaptive nursing professionals, who can address the needs and demands of the medical environment. The uprising complexity of the nursing job requires a comprehensive knowledge of the profession, which the education must provide. The master’s degree program in nursing equips the students with a full understanding of the graduating discipline. The nine essentials outlined by the AACN guide the graduates through the crucial skills for the profession and set a clear example of a proficient specialist.

Essential I: Background for Practice from Sciences and Humanities

Master’s nursing program provides fundamental sciences vital for the full understanding of the profession. The nurses who excel all sciences and humanities are considered to acquire the first essential. Failure to do so will result in poor performance in nursing practice or the inability to ever engage in it. According to American Association of Colleges of Nursing (2011), students fully prepared for the job are of excellent knowledge of sciences and already equipped for the responsibilities in nursing.

Essential II: Organizational and Systems Leadership

The authors state that effective nursing practice is lying within leadership skills that initiate effective communication in the workplace (American Association of Colleges of Nursing, 2011). Leadership is an essential characteristic of the nurses that allows navigating communicational, collaborative and negotiation skills. Several studies confirm that surpassing management positively affects patients and raises the effectiveness of staff performance (Maxwell, 2019). Therefore, the successful application of leadership skills provides a base for effective staff management and patient communication.

Essential III: Quality Improvement and Safety

Ensuring safety is one of the primary nursing responsibilities. The author sees this essential as nurse’s ability to guarantee the safety and create a secure environment for both staff and patients, and at the same time aspire constant improvement of the performance quality (American Association of Colleges of Nursing, 2011). Constant quality improvement of the workspace in combination with absolute safety will eliminate the risks at the clinical location.

Essential IV: Translating and Integrating Scholarship into Practice

Consistent implementation of new practices, based on thorough research is an identification of a master’ s-prepared nurse. As stated by AACN (2011), a nurse’s knowledge after master’s program is adaptive to the implementation of current evidence into the healthcare practices. Such essential can significantly improve the quality of the treatments, and possibly find new ways for better outcomes in some patients within their workplace.

Essential V: Informatics and Healthcare Technologies

The knowledge of informatics and healthcare technology increases the quality delivery of the patient treatment. In the author’s perspective, a nurse who effectively uses current technology can deliver a higher quality of care to the patients (American Association of Colleges of Nursing, 2011). A nurse must be able to navigate the current techniques to effectively conduct the work responsibilities as the knowledge of technologies in the era of technological innovations is vital, especially in medical practice.

Essential VI: Health Policy and Advocacy

AACN ensures that Graduates of master’s degree nursing programs obtain necessary knowledge of the healthcare system’s policy and advocacy, which is essential for every nurse (American Association of Colleges of Nursing, 2011). Nurses must thoroughly apprehend all the healthcare policies and advocacies and incorporate them into medical care practices. Successful promotion and implementation of these factors can improve the quality of the healthcare delivery and inform the patients of opportunities they did not know.

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

A skilled nurse must effectively collaborate with the healthcare team as it significantly improves the relationships within the group and enhances the quality of patient treatment (Jakubowski & Perron, 2018). The master’s education in nursing promotes collaboration between the healthcare workers as it ensures the team’s effectiveness. According to AACN (2011), cooperation is essential for achieving health promotion goals for better medical treatments. Therefore, a nurse willing to collaborate improves the team’s performance.

Essential VIII: Clinical Prevention and Population Health for Improving Health

Nurses are one of the key people who must implement prevention and health activities as for the higher purpose of improving the health of the population. AACN states that the qualified nurse integrates healthy concepts into the daily life of the community (American Association of Colleges of Nursing, 2011). Clinical prevention of health problems significantly decreases the number of ill people within the community.

Essential IX: Master’s-Level Nursing Practice

The AACN describes the last essential as master’s graduate ability to have a vast knowledge of nursing and related sciences (American Association of Colleges of Nursing, 2011). The graduating nurse must be of deep understanding of their profession, based on the received education. The more extensive expertise a nurse has, the higher the chances of successful employment and job performance.


Provided by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing The Essentials of Master’s Education in Nursing serve a purpose to innovate and change the education of nursing. With the guide, each master’ s-graduating nurse identifies the essential skills they must live up to become a qualified specialist. Each fundamental is crucial to the professional development of each graduating nurse practitioner, the achievement of which will enable them to try a variety of roles within the healthcare system.


  1. American Association of Colleges of Nursing. (2011). The essentials of masters education in nursing [PDF document]. Web.
  2. Jakubowski, T., & Perron, T. (2018). Interprofessional collaboration improves healthcare. Reflections on Nursing Leadership. Web.
  3. Maxwell, E. (2019). Good leadership in nursing: what is the most effective approach? Nursing Times. Web.

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NursingBird. 2022. "American Association of Colleges of Nursing: Master’s Education." February 5, 2022.

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NursingBird. "American Association of Colleges of Nursing: Master’s Education." February 5, 2022.