Faculty Tool Kit
NURSE FACULTY TOOL KIT FOR THE
IMPLEMENTATION OF THE BACCALAUREATE ESSENTIALS
February 19, 2009
Table of Contents
Integrative Learning Strategies 3
Essential I 4
Essential II 4
Essential III 5
Essential IV 6
Essential V 6
Essential VI 7
Essential VII 8
Essential VIII 8
Essential IX 10
Opportunities for Program Enhancement 11
Helpful Web links, including Stakeholders 19
AACN Presentations 22
The purpose of the Baccalaureate Essentials Tool Kit is to provide resources and
exemplars to assist faculty with the implementation of the Essentials of
Baccalaureate Education for Professional Nursing Practice (2008). The tool kit
provides integrative learning strategies, opportunities for program enhancement, and
resources that will assist faculty with the integration of the Baccalaureate Essentials
throughout the nursing curriculum. This tool kit includes a review of the nine
Baccalaureate Essentials followed by Integrative Learning Strategies, Opportunities
for Program Enhancement, Web Links, AACN Presentations, and References.
Essentials I through IX delineate the outcomes expected of graduates of baccalaureate
nursing programs. Achievement of these outcomes will enable graduates to practice
within complex healthcare systems and assume the roles: provider of care;
designer/manager/coordinator of care; and member of a profession.
The nine Essentials are:
x Essential I: Liberal Education for Baccalaureate Generalist Nursing Practice
o A solid base in liberal education provides the cornerstone for the practice and
education of nurses.
x Essential II: Basic Organizational and Systems Leadership for Quality Care and
o Knowledge and skills in leadership, quality improvement, and patient safety
are necessary to provide high quality health care.
x Essential III: Scholarship for Evidence Based Practice
o Professional nursing practice is grounded in the translation of current
evidence into practice.
x Essential IV: Information Management and Application of Patient Care
o Knowledge and skills in information management and patient care technology
are critical in the delivery of quality patient care.
x Essential V: Healthcare Policy, Finance, and Regulatory Environments
o Healthcare policies, including financial and regulatory, directly and indirectly
influence the nature and functioning of the healthcare system and thereby are
important considerations in professional nursing practice.
x Essential VI: Interprofessional Communication and Collaboration for
Improving Patient Health Outcomes
o Communication and collaboration among healthcare professionals are critical
to delivering high quality and safe patient care.
x Essential VII: Clinical Prevention and Population Health
o Health promotion and disease prevention at the individual and population
level are necessary to improve population health and are important
components of baccalaureate generalist nursing practice.
x Essential VIII: Professionalism and Professional Values
o Professionalism and the inherent values of altruism, autonomy, human
dignity, integrity, and social justice are fundamental to nursing.
x Essential IX: Baccalaureate Generalist Nursing Practice
o The baccalaureate-graduate nurse is prepared to practice with patients,
including individuals, families, groups, communities, and populations
across the lifespan and across the continuum of healthcare environments.
o The baccalaureate graduate understands and respects the variations of
care, the increased complexity, and the increased use of healthcare
resources inherent in caring for patients (AACN, 2008).
INTEGRATIVE LEARNING STRATEGIES
Achievement of outcomes delineated in the Essentials of Baccalaureate Education for
Professional Nursing Practice (2008) is enhanced through the intentional use of active,
collaborative, and integrative learning strategies. The American Association of Colleges
& Universities (AAC&U 2004) defines Integrative Learning Strategies as powerful,
active, and collaborative instructional methods that thread general education concepts
throughout the major. Integrative learning strategies, as used in this document, expand on
this definition and includes the integration of:
x liberal education throughout the nursing curriculum
x practice with theory
x practice knowledge and theory across essentials
x active learning strategies throughout the curriculum
x interprofessional learning opportunities; and
x learning activities across academic disciplines
The purpose of this document is to provide nursing programs with examples of
educational approaches that actively engage the learner and integrate liberal education,
nursing science, clinical reasoning, and ethical considerations into both classroom and
clinical learning. These examples are provided as a starting point to develop learning
activities for the preparation of entry-level professional nurses and may be relevant to
more than one essential. The learning strategies include a variety of methods, such as
unfolding case studies, simulation, and reflective practice exercises to assist with
implementation of a well-integrated curriculum based on the AACNâ€™s Baccalaureate
Essentials. By their nature, integrative learning strategies listed in this document may
address more than one of the Baccalaureate Essentials.
The following integrative learning strategies were developed by the American
Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) Task Force on the Revision of the Essentials
of Baccalaureate Education for Professional Nursing Practice with input from
participants at regional meetings held across the Unites States in 2007-2008. These
strategies are consistent with the work of the AAC&U (2007) and the Carnegie
Foundationâ€™s (In press) ongoing work on education in the professions.
Examples of Integrative Learning Strategies
Essential I: Liberal Education for Baccalaureate Generalist Nursing Practice
x Provide local, national, and international experiences, framed by reflective
questions, in a variety of cultures, organizations, and communities.
x Promote activities and projects with students from the arts, humanities, and
sciences to address community issues or problems.
x Use collaborative learning projects to build communication and leadership
x Engage in community-based activities to promote ethical reasoning, advocacy,
collaboration, and social justice.
x Provide opportunities to reflect on oneâ€™s own actions and values to promote
ongoing self-assessment and commitment to excellence in practice.
x Provide guided exploration of diverse philosophies, ways of knowing, and
intellectual approaches to problem solving.
x Use simulation exercises and case-based scenarios with students from other
academic disciplines such as history, religion, business, and engineering.
x Provide direct experiences integrating artistic ways of knowing such as the
arts, cinema, poetry, literature, and music to enhance the practice of nursing.
x Provide opportunities to observe and participate in various cultures through
x Participate in interprofessional service learning activities such as health
promotion and disease prevention projects for diverse populations.
x Use writing intensive assignments to promote reflection, insight, and
integration of ideas across disciplines and courses.
Essential II: Basic Organizational and Systems Leadership for Patient Safety and
x Provide leadership experiences in a variety of organizations and communities.
x Provide opportunities for students to:
o Engage in practice settings to build communication and leadership
o Communicate with recognized leaders to solve healthcare practice
o Develop a leadership or quality improvement project that spans several
courses (e.g., review literature about a practice problem in one course,
propose a practice change based on an evidence-based model in a
second course, and then present the practice change to appropriate
stakeholders in a third course).
o Shadow a leader and reflect on the experience.
o Engage in quality improvement/patient safety activities to promote an
understanding of the organizational process, unit application, and
o Participate in quality improvement activities and/or required
regulatory reporting systems.
o Participate in interprofessional performance improvement team
currently working on implementation/evaluation of national patient
o Propose an innovative solution to a system-related patient care
problem identified in oneâ€™s clinical practice.
o Conduct a mock root cause analysis on a near miss and share results
with staff or shared governance council.
o Participate in an actual Root Cause Analysis (RCA) and/or Failure
Mode Effects Analysis (FMEA).
o Role-play with nursing and medical students using Situation,
Background, Assessment, Recommendation (SBAR) communication
o Attend a professional nursing organization meeting and identify
personal development opportunities.
o As students examine various microsystem committees, identify one for
more in-depth exploration.
Essential III: Scholarship for Evidence-Based Practice
x Ask students to select a clinical topic, search for evidence, and identify the level
of evidence for each sample of evidence.
x Create journal clubs where students critique a primary nursing research article and
its relevance to their clinical practice.
x Group students according to a clinical issue of interest, conduct a systematic
review, and debate the rigor of selected research studies.
x Use controversial case studies to promote discussion about decision making and
the evidence that supports those decisions (e.g., If you dropped the patient’s last
pill, and each pill costs $35 â€¦would you use it? or if a terminally ill patient asks
you if he is dying, would you be truthful?).
x Collaborate with librarians to conduct comprehensive and efficient searches on
x Provide a sample of nursing journals and ask students to identify a research article
and determine the type and level of evidence included.
x Assign student peer review of a student colleagueâ€™s paper.
x Provide opportunities/assignments for student to:
o Identify clinical questions in PICO (Patient problem, Intervention,
Compare, Outcome) format and conduct searches for current evidence
using the PubMed PICO search feature.
o Examine the evidence for an existing policy or procedure using multiple
sources (e.g. Cochrane, AHRQ, CINAHL, PubMed).
o Apply specific criteria to evaluate health information resources for lay and
professional use as well as to discuss the ethical implications of
commercial sources that target laypersons.
o Collaborate with clinical partners to identify practice problems, formulate
evidence-based conclusions and recommendations, and present findings in
poster format to staff and class.
o Apply evidence-based practice models to assess the applicability and
feasibility of new findings to practice.
o Cite sources of evidence for planned interventions.
o For assigned patients, compare observed practices with published practice
o Link how individual nursing actions are related to recognized nurse
sensitive quality indicators.
Essential IV: Information Management and Application of Patient Care Technology
x Provide opportunities/assignments for students to:
o Use information and patient care technology to communicate
effectively with members of the healthcare team.
o Use clinical evidence and research to base and validate practice
decisions related to information management and patient care
o Participate in quality improvement activities and required regulatory
reporting through information systems.
o Employ a range of technologies that support patient care, such as
electronic health and medical records, patient monitoring systems, and
medication administration systems.
o Use simulation and electronic medical records to access and analyze
data relevant to the patient situation.
o Use information technology resources such as Wiki, Second Life
simulation, or SkyScape.com to communicate with other healthcare
professionals or students in other disciplines regarding a joint project.
o Develop a professional e-portfolio.
Essential V: Healthcare Policy, Finance, and Regulatory Environments
x Provide opportunities/assignments for students to:
o Observe a state board of nursing hearing and reflect on how the state
practice act protects the welfare and safety of the citizens.
o Participate with national or state nursing associations in activities such as
o Review proposed legislation affecting health care and provide written
o Attend national or state congressional hearings on healthcare issues.
o Observe testimony at a state legislative or regulatory hearing on a
healthcare issue focusing on access to care or patient advocacy.
o Provide written or verbal feedback on the ethical, financial, and social
implications of the testimony observed and recommended policy changes.
o Compare the costs of common diagnostic tests, procedures, and
medications charged to insurance companies vs. self-pay patients.
o Explore the costs and availability of care options for patients with
dementia or a psychiatric/mental health illness in your local community.
(What does private health insurance cover? Medicaid? Medicare?).
o Develop a lobbying plan for an identified issue that includes a concise (30
seconds or less) oral synopsis for a decision maker and a one-page policy
o Participate in advocating for change in policy related to a selected
healthcare issue at the local, state, or national level.
o As an interprofessional group, role play a legislator, proponent and
opponent for a healthcare or professional issue.
o Analyze a hospital bill for one day of care in an acute setting and identify
where nursing services are embedded.
o Compare one or more healthcare systems in other countries with the U.S.
system, including costs, services provided, and outcomes, (e.g., pre-and
postnatal care, role of midwife and other healthcare professionals/workers,
insurance coverage, maternity/paternity leave).
o As an interprofessional group, develop a policy (new or revised) to
address an issue identified in a practice setting. Delineate processes for
getting policy adopted and implemented within that practice setting.
Essential VI: Interprofessional Communication and Collaboration for Improving
Patient Health Outcomes
x Provide opportunities/assignments for students to:
o Engage in case study discussions/dialogue with a variety of healthcare and
o Participate in interprofessional collaboration (e.g., grand rounds,
community coalition meetings).
o Work in interprofessional and intraprofessional teams on course
o Engage in interprofessional and intraprofessional care in simulation labs.
o Develop interprofessional community projects.
o Assess group dynamics of an interprofessional or intraprofessional group .
o After attending a professional meeting of another healthcare profession,
compare and contrast professional perspectives.
o Participate on interprofessional teams at national competitions (e.g.,
Clarion Interprofessional Team Case Competition at the University of
Minnesota, National Student Nurses Association).
o Participate in campus-wide student governance and committees.
o Organize activities for National Primary Care Week as a student
Essential VII: Clinical Prevention and Population Health for Optimizing Health
x Provide opportunities/assignments for students to:
o Analyze health behavior(s) of self or others using models or theories.
o Participate in individually-focused clinical prevention activities such as:
ï¿½ teaching about and providing immunizations
ï¿½ improving adherence to tuberculosis chemoprophylaxis through
health teaching and directly observed therapies
ï¿½ providing health counseling regarding smoking cessation, stress
management, exercise, and diet
ï¿½ teaching about and encouraging cancer screening
ï¿½ conducting basic environmental exposure history regarding
ï¿½ conducting basic genetic health screening and referring high risk
individuals to genetic services
ï¿½ assessing a home environment and health counseling to prevent
falls in older adults
ï¿½ identifying and intervening in elder abuse;
o Use clinical practice guidelines for planning and/or evaluating clinical
o Participate in community or population-focused assessment.
o Participate in development of plans and policies to effectively prepare a
community for disasters or to protect vulnerable populations during
o Help organizations and communities create healthy environments such as
smoke- free workplaces.
o Teach vulnerable populations about avoiding environmental risks.
o Collaborate with institutions, such as day care centers or homeless
shelters, to develop and implement policies to minimize transmission of
o Participate in a community disaster drill.
o Develop a policy memo to address a health issue identified in the
o Advocate for policy change regarding a health issued identified in the
o Initiate an interprofessional going-green campaign to improve
Essential VIII: Professionalism and Professional Values
x Provide opportunities/assignments for students to:
o Write a letter to the editor or opinion editorial about the role of nursing in
improving health care and submit the letter to a local newspaper for
o Observe and respond to focused questions about the proceedings of ethical
review committees, IRB, nursing practice councils, and state board of
nursing meetings and/or hearings.
o Participate in professional or community-based organizations that
advocate for quality and access to care.
o Use simulated vignettes that address ethical, legal. and moral patient care
situations such as:
ï¿½ provider abandonment of a patient
ï¿½ decision-making about reporting to work in the event of a disaster
ï¿½ reporting sexual assault or abuse
ï¿½ suspected drug use by a colleague
ï¿½ end-of-life decision-making
ï¿½ identification of a spiritual crisis
ï¿½ withdrawal of life support
o Participate in interprofessional service-learning projects such as student
visits to secondary schools, school career days, summer health camps, or
vulnerable populations in homeless shelters or homes for battered women
o Partner with a nursing school from another country to gain global
perspective; use the internet for global experiences.
o Engage in legislative state house visits to articulate professional nursing
o Work with legislative staff at various levels.
o Participate in values clarification exercises, using poems, literature, and
video clips that illustrate bias, such as the â€œSee Me Nurseâ€ video on aging
(Southern Region Coalition).
o Participate in rounds with chaplains or other spiritual care professionals.
o Develop a self-care improvement plan. For example, use a tool such as the
â€œCircle of Human Potentialsâ€ (Dossey & Keegan, 2009) ) to conduct a
self-assessment and develop a self-care improvement plan that includes
o Conduct a self-assessment in one or more of the following areas: physical,
emotional, spiritual, cultural, relationships, communications, and learning
style. Based on this assessment, develop an improvement plan that
includes measurable outcomes.
o Analyze the mediaâ€™s portrayal of nurses and other aspects of health care.
o Discuss cultural and ethical variables in patient care scenarios using
software, such as The Neighborhood (Gidden, 2007) in interprofessional
and intraprofessional learning groups.
o Use reflective writing to discuss student use of moral agency and/or
o Create a student honor code to be adopted.
o Engage with a nurse actively involved in professional nursing practice for
more than 30 years to explore changes within the profession.
Essential IX: Baccalaureate Generalist Nursing Practice
x In a group of students, plan, provide and evaluate nursing care for a patient with
multiple co-morbidities and symptoms in a simulated or patient care environment.
x In a group of interprofessional students, provide care that reflects patient preferences
and values in a simulated or patient care environment.
x Arrange cultural immersion care giving experiences in settings such as homeless
shelters, migrant clinics, correctional facilities, and corporate health settings.
x Provide opportunities/experiences for students to:
o Provide evidence-based, patient-centered end-of-life care to a dying patient
and their significant others.
o Interview volunteers with complex problems, such as HIV, psychiatric
conditions, tuberculosis, or substance abuse to explore patient preferences and
o Provide care to a group of patients that incorporates delegation, supervision,
and outcomes evaluation.
o Administer and document administration of medications to groups of patients
in a patient care or simulated environment.
o Perform patient assessment and evaluation of a patientâ€™s response to
pharmacological agents in a simulated or patient care environment.
o Use unfolding case study analysis to correlate a patientâ€™s medical condition
and pathophysiology and design appropriate therapeutic interventions.
o Use a constructed genetic pedigree from collected family history information
to identify a risk profile and develop a plan of care, including patient
education and referral.
o Use simulation, case studies and patient assignments to make decisions about
the organization, prioritization, and appropriate delegation of care.
o Consult with other professionals to improve transitions of elderly patients
across care settings.
o Evaluate patient education materials for cultural and linguistic
o Elicit a spiritual history and integrate a patientâ€™s spirituality into the care plan.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR PROGRAM ENHANCEMENT
The following indicators of quality serve to guide baccalaureate nursing programs as they
strive for excellence. These suggestions are intended to go beyond required program
standards and to build upon the program components identified in AACNâ€™s The
Essentials of Baccalaureate Education for Professional Nursing Practice (2008). In the
pursuit of continuous improvement, programs may use these indicators of quality to
develop action plans appropriate to their mission, philosophy, and core values. This
culture of continuous quality improvement fosters inquiry and creativity. While all
accredited programs engage in quality improvement processes, the indicators of quality
discussed in this document identify elements which can further enhance the quality of the
program. These indicators were not developed to be used as accreditation standards. This
document identifies elements believed to increase excellence in baccalaureate nursing
programs and offers strategies that are most promising for moving programs forward in
their quest for excellence.
Infrastructure refers to the platform of support provided by an institution to promote the
success of its academic programs. Attention to best practices in regards to infrastructure
can facilitate a programâ€™s progress to a higher level of excellence. A strong academic
infrastructure provides a variety of learning opportunities for students to achieve the
Baccalaureate Essentials. Baccalaureate nursing programs moving toward excellence
invest in sufficient financial, personnel, instructional, and academic resources as well as
facilities to incorporate successful practices into their programs. In addition, programs
allocate resources to provide opportunities beyond those necessary for successful
program completion. Best practices include providing opportunities for students to attain
maximum potential for a successful career trajectory and professional successes, in
addition to fostering innovation, creativity, and new ways of thinking and doing.
The academic infrastructure reflects the unique qualities of the program and includes
exemplary student life and academic support services such as honors programs,
opportunities for student involvement in faculty research, internships, student
organizations, remediation, and other enhancement programs. Quality programs support
enrichment opportunities such as international study, service learning, and career
planning. Students have local or international experiences with diverse populations,
second-language immersion opportunities, or other experiences indicating involvement in
cultural or global issues. Student access to resources, such as scholarships and support for
scholarly projects or activities, is an additional indicator of quality. Resources and
opportunities are developed to support student goals and the needs of a diverse student
population. The presence of institutional resources for research, development, business
operations, public relations, marketing, and human resources reflects quality in
baccalaureate nursing programs. For example, exceptional programs develop processes
to expand and sustain resources in the areas of information technology, library holdings,
clinical laboratories and equipment, and space provided for student learning and faculty
Institutional support for faculty development is evidenced by written policies and budget
allocations. Benchmarks for faculty development are established and evaluated for
quality improvement initiatives. Best practices may include strategies to attract faculty
with outstanding academic preparation and experience to enhance the programâ€™s unique
mission or to serve a specific community of interest.
Principled leadership is an important indicator of quality. This leadership supports and
rewards faculty collaboration for teaching, scholarship, and service. Effective leaders
create an environment that encourages faculty and staff to engage in reflective thinking
and critical analysis of professional contributions and program outcomes. Strategic
planning, resource allocation, and staffing to achieve program goals are guided by
effective leadership to produce supportive academic environments.
Excellent academic programs forge partnerships with practice organizations, such as
community agencies and healthcare systems that are mutually beneficial. Examples of
mutual benefits include collaborative research and practice initiatives, design of
educational experiences and curriculum, as well as the sharing of staff and faculty. The
partnership of education and practice, through a process of continuous evaluation, fosters
mutual accountability. Quality partnerships are successful when they clarify goals,
objectives, and responsibilities, as well as work toward the success of all stakeholders
(Gilliss & Fuchs, 2007). Strong partnerships provide opportunities for students to expand
and improve their practice and create an environment where teaching reflects best nursing
practices. Partners share a commitment to excellence in nursing practice and education.
Academic environments, while focused on the climate for student learning, support
faculty efforts to implement best practices. Best practices promote explicit opportunities
for the integration of liberal education and learning throughout the nursing curriculum.
Student application of principles of liberal learning as evidenced in nursing course syllabi
and course materials as well as teaching-learning activities are selected to match student
abilities and previous academic preparation. Students can articulate the value of their
liberal education courses to their preparation as professional nurses as well as educated
citizens. Students express accountability for their own learning throughout the academic
experience and beyond. In addition, students are actively engaged in learning and are
encouraged to question and seek answers through a variety of inquiry methods. A spirit
of inquiry and the excitement of discovery permeate such environments.
Academic environments that best support student success create high expectations for
student learning. Integrative learning strategies focus on the spirit of inquiry and the
development of a community of scholars. Students and faculty in quality programs
engage in synthesizing experiences in collaborative and service learning projects as well
as interdisciplinary work across departments. Best practices include the use of multiple
teaching strategies and methods of evaluation that provide ongoing feedback to enhance
student outcomes. Classroom experiences are relevant to studentsâ€™ lives, aspirations, and
experiences. In addition, best practices produce retention, graduation, national licensure
examination pass rates, and student successes that reflect the programâ€™s admission
standards and academic support services.
Best practices regarding academic environments include support for faculty practice,
teaching, scholarship, and service roles as appropriate to the programâ€™s mission. This
commitment is evident through systems that support a broad conceptualization of
scholarship and institutional reward systems for faculty scholarship. Congruence between
the parent organizationâ€™s definitions of these roles is paramount and the reward system
for scholarly activity is evident. Best practices include a plan for the dissemination of
faculty scholarly efforts to assure that outcomes have an impact beyond the school or
Indicators of best practices related to scholarship may include extramural grants in
support of practice innovations; peer-reviewed publications and presentations; practice-
oriented grant review activities; editorial review activities; state, regional, national, and
international professional activities related to oneâ€™s practice area; policy involvement and
development; establishment of practice sites for underserved populations; and
dissemination of practice improvement products such as reports, guidelines, protocols,
and tool kits (AACN, 2006).
Another best practice in support of faculty is recognition given for teaching excellence
through support of innovation and creativity in designing and implementing learning
opportunities for diverse student populations and environments. Master teachers mentor
newer faculty to create an environment of support and continuous improvements in
teaching and student learning (Hutchings & Schulman, 1999). Again, best practices
would provide the resources to support an environment that advances excellent teaching.
An organizational culture that embraces continuous improvement is a key quality
indicator of programs implementing best practices. This culture is manifested through
processes and policies that promote systematic program evaluation and evidence-based
actions in response to findings. Although continuous improvement activities are required
for accreditation, programs that seek opportunities for continuous improvement can
demonstrate a direct link between ongoing improvement strategies and identified student
and program outcomes targeted for excellence.
Clinical Practice Environment for Students
Healthcare professionals have a collective responsibility to ensure collaborative practice,
including inter- and intraprofessional practice. Academic institutions provide nursing
students the opportunity to deliver patient-centered care as members of an
interprofessional team, emphasizing evidence-based practice, quality improvement
approaches, and informatics (Institute of Medicine, 2003).
When determining appropriate enrollment targets, quality programs demonstrate ongoing
engagement with the community of interest to match faculty resources and availability to
the best sites for optimizing clinical experiences. An ongoing collaborative academic
practice partnership is a quality indicator for promoting student learning. Practice
partnerships encompass a wide range of practice settings and experiences beyond
traditional clinical sites. In addition, selected practice sites exemplify or aspire to best
nursing practices and achieve recognition via national accreditation or other programs for
excellence. The best practices for clinical environments in baccalaureate nursing
programs are predicated on the assumption that students are best served by opportunities
to work and learn together with professional nurse mentors, preceptors, and role models.
Nursing role models practice from an evidence base and promote student access to a wide
range of patient populations, experiences, and best practices. Partnership agreements,
designed to benefit the educational program and practice site jointly, are in writing, and
include strategies for ongoing evaluation and continuous improvement.
Faculty characteristics, such as credentials, experience, and educational preparation, are
important to promote exemplary program outcomes. Faculty maintain expertise in the
areas in which they teach, as well as possess expertise in teaching-learning practices.
Faculty ground their teaching in clinical practice and current scientific evidence. Quality
improvement processes center on those known to provide for the accomplishment of the
unique educational and scholarly mission of the program. Faculty demographics may be
sought that mirror the demographics of the student population and the region. Quality
programs address AACN recommendations regarding faculty credentials in conjunction
with their own unique mission, philosophy, and core values.
Faculty Practice. Nursing is a practice discipline; therefore, faculty in baccalaureate
nursing programs maintain expertise within their area of practice and adopt or create best
practices. Faculty practice, consisting of direct client care, leadership, service,
consultation, and/or scholarship activities depends on the faculty memberâ€™s interest,
skills, and experiences and contributes to maintaining and/or developing competence of
faculty in the practice of nursing (Boyer, 1990). Faculty practice is not done in isolation
but contributes to the teaching, scholarship, and/or service missions of the academic
institution. A balance between teaching, practice, and scholarship expectations is evident
across the faculty and reflects the mission of the institution. Expectations for faculty
practice are clarified through appropriate policies. Additionally, faculty practice is
supported and facilitated through resource allocation such as release time, academic
partnerships with other disciplines or departments, and academic service partnerships
with clinical agencies.
Best practices for faculty selection outlined in AACNâ€™s Position Statement on The
Preferred Vision of the Professoriate in Baccalaureate and Graduate Nursing Programs
(2008) meet the following criteria:
1. Educational institutions vary in culture and policy. Qualifications and
performance of nursing faculty will be congruent with accepted institutional
standards. Consistent with academy expectations, faculty with primary
responsibility for the oversight of courses in baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral
nursing programs will have doctoral preparation. Doctoral graduates who will be
involved in an academic role will have preparation in educational methods and
2. The nursing program faculty must balance its stature within the academy with its
concurrent responsibility to prepare graduates for the practice environment.
Therefore, the mix of faculty expertise, roles, and responsibilities will vary
according to the mission of the academic program.
3. Courses in the nursing program will be taught by faculty with graduate-level
academic preparation and advanced expertise in the areas of content they teach.
4. Nursing science is enriched by the knowledge and expertise of many disciplines.
Selected nursing program courses and electives may be taught by either nurse or
non-nurse faculty with appropriate educational and experiential preparation.
5. Clinically focused graduate preparation is the minimal expectation for clinical
instruction and the coordination and mentoring of preceptors.
6. Preceptors from the practice environment working under the guidance of nursing
faculty serve as role models for the design, organization, and implementation of
patient care. Preceptors in entry-level pre-licensure programs must, at minimum,
hold a baccalaureate degree in nursing.
Transition to Practice within the Baccalaureate Curriculum
Clinical immersion opportunities for students in the practice setting support knowledge
application, skill development and refinement, role development, and transition to
practice. Immersion experiences develop the studentsâ€™ critical thinking/clinical reasoning
skills, and increase communication skills, time management, and organization abilities.
Opportunities to explore the multiple roles of the professional nurse in varied care
settings and to serve as a member of an interprofessional team prepare the student for
Indicators of quality consider the programâ€™s processes and activities for precepted
capstone and immersion experiences, as well as for externships. As students progress
through their clinical experiences they have increasing opportunities to develop skill and
confidence in managing the needs of groups of patients and understanding the full range
of responsibilities associated with the professional role. These competencies are achieved
through partnerships with healthcare agencies that create opportunities for students to
work with skilled practicing nurses and other professional role models to experience the
full scope of the nursing role prior to graduation. Integrating didactic and clinical learning
provides a true working partnership between the academic and practice organizations to
ensure appropriate leveling of content and application for site specific requirements.
Effective academic and practice partnerships ideally extend beyond graduation to the
creation of supportive transition programs that specifically address the unique needs of
the newly graduated nurse. Transition programs provide cost savings and positive long-
term financial outcomes in terms of employee satisfaction, effectiveness, and reduced
turnover. Residency programs in academic health centers can enhance job satisfaction
and autonomy, increase critical reasoning skills, provide support to the graduate, and
reduce turnover (Pine & Tart, 2007). Standardized one-year, post-baccalaureate nurse
residency programs, such as that developed jointly by the University HealthSystem
Consortium (UHC) and AACN, can facilitate the transition of baccalaureate graduates
into the acute care setting as evidenced by turnover rates far below the national
benchmark for new graduate nurses (Williams et al. 2007). The UHC/AACN residency
model can be modified and adapted for a wide range of practice settings and patient
populations, including ambulatory and community settings. Quality programs
demonstrate ongoing efforts to forge and improve partnerships with practice settings to
insure the effective integration of program graduates into the complex world of practice.
Quality programs forge formal academic service partnerships to create environments
where students work with nurses and other professional role models to experience the
professional role prior to graduation.
Indicators of Quality
Baccalaureate nursing programs that adopt best practices monitor indicators of quality
related to program outcomes. Quality programs select indicators that reflect their unique
organizational context, including mission, philosophy, and core values. Quality programs
assess indicators that identify strengths and opportunities for improvement. Recognizing
the current variability in strength of evidence, the following describe possible indicators
of best practices, but by no means serve as definitive measures for all programs.
Indicators of quality can serve as measures of progress towards best practices. Programs
re-evaluate and revise measures as indicated. Possible indicators include but are not
limited to the following:
x Retention rates at different points in the program
x Level of satisfaction among employers with the knowledge and skills of graduates
x Proportion of graduates employed in nursing five years following graduation
x Enrollment rates of practicing graduates in graduate nursing education within five
x Proportion of graduates attaining generalist certification within five years
x Proportion of graduates reporting continued commitment to practicing nursing at
regular intervals after graduation
x Level of satisfaction among graduates with preparation for the professional nursing
role at one year following graduation
x Proportion of graduates participating in professional organizations
x Proportion of graduates who assume leadership roles in nursing throughout their
x Proportion of graduates who are strong alumni (including financial donors, student
x Institutional resources for research, development, business operations, public
relations, marketing, and human resources
x Technological enhancements to learning (e.g., e-portfolio, electronic medical records,
simulation, web-enhanced courses)
x Virtual learning environment with strong technical support for students and faculty
x Use of innovative education/practice partnerships, such as dedicated education units,
that enhance learning opportunities
x Faculty and leadership development resources reflected in policy and budget
x Policies support faculty practice through release time policies and academic
x Faculty turnover and retention rates
x A formal mentoring program for faculty
x Faculty demographics mirror the demographics of the student population
x Effective relationships within and external to the academic institution
x Participation in the governance of the academic institution
x University to university partnerships to extend academic resources
x Academic-organizational partnerships to increase access to resources
x Successful development/fundraising activities
x Academic administrators support innovation
x Proportion of doctoral faculty in academic roles who have preparation in curriculum
development and educational methods
x Faculty certification rates in area of nursing practice
x Faculty service to the profession
x Faculty service to the community
x Faculty scholarly productivity
x Syllabi reflect collaboration with departments and disciplines outside of nursing
x Funded, extramural grants support practice innovations
x Faculty participate in peer-reviewed publications and presentations
x Faculty presence in state, regional, national, and international professional activities
x Proportion of faculty who have advanced expertise in the areas of content they teach
x Faculty maintain active practice within their area of expertise
x Proportion of faculty who have a well-developed program of research/scholarship
x Enrollment and graduation of students from diverse backgrounds
x Scholarships and services to support a diverse student population
x Service learning opportunities
x Research experiences for undergraduates; opportunities for student involvement in
x Scholarships that support student research engagement
x Academic support services, e.g., tutoring for writing, math, sciences, nursing, etc.
x Honors program opportunities
x International study programs integrated with nursing curricula
x Capstone experiences
x Immersion clinical experiences
x Opportunities for interprofessional team learning
x Service learning programs
x Career planning office
x Experiences with diverse populations
x Second language immersion opportunities
x Student organizations
x Leadership opportunities for students (faculty/school committees, SNA activities,
community service, etc.)
Academic and Practice Partnership Indicators
x Diverse academic and practice partnerships that provide opportunities for student
internships, externships, and residencies
x Joint appointments or formal recognition in education and practice partnerships
x Practice partnerships in addition to clinical affiliation, include collaborative grants,
projects, practice, and research initiatives
x Practice partnerships provide student engagement with a variety of populations
x Collaboratively designed curriculum and student experiences
x Joint participation in governance of both academic and practice organizations
x Shared commitment to excellence in nursing practice and education
x Opportunities for student and graduate employment and career development
x Enhanced job satisfaction, autonomy, and retention of graduates employed by
x Collaboration that targets improved nurse sensitive outcomes for patient populations
x Formal mentoring program for preceptors
HELPFUL WEB LINKS, INCLUDING STAKEHOLDERS
x Quality and Safety Education for Nurses (QSEN) offers a bibliography and
teaching strategies around the following topics: Patient-Centered Care, Teamwork
and Collaboration, Evidence-Based Practice, Quality Improvement, Safety, and
x Educational Resources for Faculty from the American Nurses Association (ANA)
x Resources from the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN)
x Resources from the Integrative Learning Project by The Carnegie Foundation for
the Advancement of Teaching
x Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA): Health Workforce
x BSN-Level Nursing Education Resources from the American Organization of
Nurse Executives (AONE)
x Resources from the California Endowment on Access to Health, Culturally
Competent Health Systems and Community Health and the Elimination of
x AACN Tool Kit of Resources for Cultural Competency in Baccalaureate
Education, including a framework to facilitate the attainment of cultural
competence by baccalaureate nursing graduates.
x Resources for Emergency Preparedness Education
x End-of-Life Nursing Education Consortium, a partnership between AACN and
The City of Hope
x Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
x The Evidence-Based Medicine Education Center of Excellence provides an
extensive list of databases, journals, and textbooks
Genetics and Genomics
x Centers for Disease Control and Prevention- Resources and Tools for Genetics
and Genomics Training and Curriculum
x International Society of Nurses in Genetics
Gerontology and Aging
x AACN and the John A. Hartford Foundation Institute for Geriatric Nursing
x AACN Geriatric Nursing Resources
x Hartford Institute for Geriatric Nursing
x Links and resources from the American Holistic Nurses Association (AHNA)
x Wiki site from the Consultant Group on Interprofessional Professionalism
x Faculty resources on liberal education from the Association of American Colleges
and Universities (AAC&U)
x Resources from the American Nursing Informatics Association (ANIA)
x The TIGER Initiative (Technology Informatics Guiding Educational Reform)
x Programs and resources from the American Public Health Association (APHA)
x Programs and resources from the Association of Community Health Nursing
Quality and Safety
x Resources for nursing care from the National Quality Forum (NQF)
x Crossing the Quality Chasm: The IOM Health Care Quality Initiative
x Resources, including a tool kit, for Clinical Microsystems and Quality
Improvement from Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice
DVD: â€œSetting the Stage for the Evolution of Baccalaureate Nursing Educationâ€
Regional Meetings, Fall 2008, Spring 2009
Joanne Disch, PhD, RN, FAAN
University of Minnesota School of Nursing
Order form: http://www.aacn.nche.edu/Education/dvd.htm
Powerpoint Presentation and Recordings of the AACN Teleconferences on the
Baccalaureate Essentials: http://www.aacn.nche.edu/Education/teleconf.htm
Powerpoint Presentation: â€œBest Practices in Implementing the Revised Baccalaureate
Patricia Martin, PhD, RN, Chair
Derryl Block, PhD, RN
Donald â€œChipâ€ Bailey, PhD, RN
Jean W. Lange, PhD, RN
Roxanne Moutafis, MS, RN
Judith Sands, EdD, RN
December 4, 2008
San Antonio, Texas
Powerpoint Presentation: â€œEvidence of Quality in Baccalaureate Nursing Education
Revision of the Essentials for Baccalaureate Nursing Educationâ€
Patricia Martin, PhD, RN, Chair
November 29, 2007
New Orleans, Louisiana
(AACN Members Only)
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