Master’s Education in Nursing and American Standards


The essentials of master’s education in nursing focuses on redefining the basic concepts that should be embraced by nursing colleges when developing the course content of their master’s students. The content should emphasize the need to enable nurses to appreciate the relevance of change in their respective workplaces. They should be leaders who understand the importance of diversity and the need to embrace emerging technologies. The essentials of master’s education in nursing, as proposed by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, address fundamental issues raised by different stakeholders about the competencies of nurses in the country’s institution of healthcare.

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The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) has been concerned about the relevance of master’s education in equipping nurses with skills needed in the current healthcare setting. American Association of Colleges of Nursing (2011) argues that “master’s education equips nurses with valuable knowledge and skills to lead change, promote health, and elevate care in various roles and settings,” (p. 3).

However, that can only happen if the education system is tailored towards addressing issues that nurses have to deal with on a daily basis when they are at work. Nurses are currently expected to have the capacity to make critical decisions that can save the lives of patients without a directive from doctors. The purpose of this paper is to provide an accurate description of AACN’s essentials of master’s education in nursing based on the article provided.

The Essentials

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing has been keen on improving the quality of education in the country (American Association of Colleges of Nursing, 2011). Members of this association have been concerned that there is a growing mismatch between the skills nurses have and their job requirements. Nurses are not properly equipped to handle their new responsibilities in the healthcare sector. As such, the essentials were developed to ensure that nurses with master’s degrees in nursing have the right skills to enable them to deliver quality services.

Background for Practice from Sciences and Humanities

This is the basis of all the other essentials as it acknowledges that nurses with master’s degrees should have broad-based knowledge to facilitate efficient service delivery. It stipulates that nurses should have the capacity to work in diverse settings (Démeh & Rosengren, 2015). The United States is a highly diversified society in terms of race, gender, socio-economic background, sexual orientation, and many other demographical factors. The essential is meant to help nurses overcome common stereotypes and offer their clients quality service irrespective of who they are in society.

Organizational and Systems Leadership

Leadership and decision-making are some of the new roles that all nurses should be trained to deal with in the workplace. The essential is meant to empower nurses and enable them to have the capacity to make a quick decision. For example, a patient may be brought to the hospital with serious wounds and in need of urgent help to save his or her life. In absence of a doctor, a nurse should be able to make the right decision and offer the basic services before the arrival of a specialist. Such a timely action may spare the life of a patient (Porter-O’Grady, Weberg, Mangold, & Malloch, 2018). The problem is that most of these nurses lack the capacity to make such quick decisions because of the training they received, which requires them to consult doctors before taking such an action.

Quality Improvement and Safety

The emerging new standards in the field of healthcare are redefining the quality of services offered in the institution of healthcare. In this essential, the primary focus is on the ability of masters-prepared nurses to be precise in methods, tools, standards, and measures they take to offer quality services to patients (Persily, 2013). They need to apply quality standards learned in college in their normal work. The essential seeks to improve the safety of patients is at the core of all the activities undertaken by the nurses. They should also play a role in promoting best practices in the industry.

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Translating and Integrating Scholarship into Practice

Translating scholarship into practice is one of the major challenges that many nurses encounter, especially those who recently graduated from college (Démeh & Rosengren, 2015). Nurses learn a lot during a master’s degree course, but in most cases, they find it difficult to integrate the new knowledge into their practice. Persily (2013) blames the problem on an overemphasis on theories in many colleges. The essential proposes a change in the teaching model so that more emphasis is placed on practice than theories. Learners should understand how to act in a real-life environment. If it is about handling patients from diverse backgrounds, they should be presented with a practical scenario during training.

Informatics and Healthcare Technologies

Technology has played a critical role in redefining the quality of services in the health sector. The work of nurses, doctors, and other medical staff have been simplified due to emerging technologies. Nurses have to learn how to embrace these changes, especially in the field of informatics, to enhance their service delivery. At a master’s level of education, they should learn how to share information with doctors, lab technicians, and other professionals in a digital form. The essential is meant to promote the use of technology in managing clinical records and other activities in hospitals.

Health Policy and Advocacy

According to Stewart and DeNisco (2018), policies that are often made in the health sector, and which have to be observed by nurses, are often developed by senior government officers in the Department of Health and Human Services, some of whom are not nurses. The essential encourages master’s-trained nurses to be in the frontline in championing policies relevant to nurses instead of letting top government officials enact these policies. They have the right level of education and understand the real challenges that nurses go through on a regular basis. They also understand the needs and challenges of their patients.

Inter-professional Collaboration for Improving Patient and Population Health Outcomes

The relationship that nurses and other healthcare professionals have significantly influenced the quality of services that a given healthcare institution offers. The essential promotes the need for collaboration among different clinical officers. This essentially requires the academically empowered nurses to help their junior officers in understanding how to work closely with other medical practitioners to offer improved services to patients.

Clinical Prevention and Population Health for Improving Health

The essential emphasizes the need to ensure that nurses with master’s degrees in nursing should use evidence-based clinical prevention practices to offer quality care to their patients. It also describes the diversity in the country and how different populations may have varying views of how they should be served by the nurses. Some of their beliefs may be irrational at times (Persily, 2013). However, it is the responsibility of a nurse to understand such a patient, based on various demographical backgrounds, and meet their needs in the best way possible. The essential is meant to enable nurses to work effectively in a socially diversified environment.

Master’s-Level Nursing Practice

The last essential reemphasizes the need for nurses to integrate their knowledge as learned in nursing colleges into practice. In most cases, nurses are trained on how to transform their societies through sensitization programs. However, such new concepts are rarely put into practice (Démeh & Rosengren, 2015). It may be because of poor systems and structures at their place of work. The essential is meant to enable nurses to put to practice what they learn in college.


The essentials of master’s education in nursing emphasize the need for these institutions to change their curriculum in line with the real issues that nurses face in their workplace. Students who are taking master’s degrees in nursing should be equipped with relevant skills that can enable them to work in the current demanding and dynamic environment. They should be equipped with leadership skills and knowledge of how to work in the current demanding environment.

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Authors of these essentials recommend that the training of nurses should focus more on practical skills than theory as was the case in the past. If properly implemented, these essentials will improve the quality of services offered by the local nurses who have gone through the master’s program.


American Association of Colleges of Nursing. (2011). The essentials of master’s education in nursing. Web.

Démeh, W., & Rosengren, K. (2015). The visualization of clinical leadership in the content of nursing education- A qualitative study of nursing students’ experiences. Nurse Education Today, 35(7), 888-893.

Persily, C.A. (2013). Team leadership and partnering in nursing and health care. New York, NY: Springer Publishing Company.

Porter-O’Grady, T., Weberg, D. R., Mangold, K., & Malloch, K. (2018). Leadership in nursing practice: Changing the landscape of health care (3rd ed.). Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.

Stewart, J.G., & DeNisco, S.M. (Eds.). (2018). Role development for the nurse practitioner (2nd ed.). Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.

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