Optimization and improvement of medical care and treatment processes is an essential topic as the current global pandemic situation shows. The purpose of this paper is to provide a brief explanation of each of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) essentials and the author’s interpretation of them. It is worth noting that principal methodology of the current study is a descriptive method with the addition of personal comments. In the course of the research, an understanding of the goals of the AACN was achieved, as well as the basic principles and contextual nuances of the work of nurses.
A comprehensive education in theory and practice is crucial in health care, especially in nursing. American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) provides a competent understanding of all these points. According to the official source, “AACN is the driving force for innovation and excellence in academic nursing” (American Association of Colleges of Nursing, 2020, para. 1). This work will provide a brief description and a personal understanding of each essential.
Essentials Description and Interpretation
The first essential, as in many other disciplines, touches on the theoretical component of the profession. The education of a master’s degree in this field includes the study of many technical and human sciences as well as methodological techniques (American Association of Colleges of Nursing, 2011). It means that the obtained theoretical spectrum of knowledge will contribute to the development of self-improvement skills in the necessary scientific fields.
A master’s degree in nursing implies a significant level of responsibility. Students undergo appropriate training in organizational and leadership skills, and research the hierarchical structure of healthcare institutions (American Association of Colleges of Nursing, 2011). From a personal point of view, it is primarily necessary for quick response in emergencies for patients and also in order not to overload the medical staff with various duties.
The third essential is the most contextual and modern as it relates to quality and safety control. Students are prepared not only to comply with current federal, state, and organizational rules but also to develop new own progressive models to obtain a master’s degree in nursing (American Association of Colleges of Nursing, 2011). Therefore, this item teaches nurses to combine the theoretical knowledge of the two previous essentials into one practically.
It is no secret that several graduates face a psychological barrier when they cannot appropriately apply their knowledge in practice. In preparation for a master’s degree, nurses are researching a methodology for transitioning from medical theory to the fieldwork component (American Association of Colleges of Nursing, 2011). It means the understanding of how the acquired range of knowledge should be implemented to provide proper emergency medical care, management of medical personnel and equipment, and communication with various social and ethnic groups.
The fifth essential, which concerns the understanding of the competent use of technologies in a certain way, is similar to the third principle since it also implies an aspect of modernity. A master’s degree requires students to have competent computer science skills and an understanding of algorithms for organizing medical personnel and databases (American Association of Colleges of Nursing, 2011). According to Merriam-Webster, an algorithm is “a step-by-step procedure for solving a problem or accomplishing some end” (2020, para. 2). It can be said that this knowledge is needed for the skillful use of modern technology to optimize various medical services and to provide the most effective care of patients.
Unlike previous essentials, the sixth one is aimed to teach of interaction with the external environment, such as politics, economics, and various social processes. Master’s degree nursing education teaches students on behalf of their institution to communicate with other ones to achieve improvements and equity (American Association of Colleges of Nursing, 2011). Therefore, from a personal point of view, students must understand that, like other members of the American community, they must actively participate in social dialogue.
In addition to their role in the healthcare system, nurses should know and recognize the place of other medical professionals. Nurses study the areas of activity of other specialists as well as learn the skills of inter-professional communication, planning, and interaction (American Association of Colleges of Nursing, 2011). If the previous sixth essential explores the aspect of public dialogue from a horizontal inter-institutional perspective, this concerns its vertical structure.
It is worth noting that it is crucial not only to treat patients effectively but also to prevent diseases effectively. Students learn the skills of social influence and interventions, as well as the basic principles of public relations to provide medical services outside clinics and hospitals (American Association of Colleges of Nursing, 2011). Nurses with a master’s degree must know about how to communicate with both families and the general population to promote a healthy lifestyle.
The ninth essence summarizes the previous eight points while also adding an aspect of self-awareness to one’s activities. In addition to the competent use of medical skills, students should understand that it is also possible to implement their philosophy to improve care and treatment processes (American Association of Colleges of Nursing, 2011). Nurses with a master’s degree should be highly qualified professionals and not forget that they represent the healthcare system and speak on behalf of it.
This paper explores AACN nine essentials and also presents the author’s opinion. There were examined both necessary pieces of knowledge in technical and humanitarian disciplines and communication skills with such areas as medical personnel, the state, and the population. It is worth noting that future research on this topic is needed to discover and develop new essentials that will improve not only nursing education but also the health system itself.