The nursing profession is one of the greatest services to humanity that is associated with selflessness and a desire to serve others (Araki, 2019). Nurses are devoted to helping people who are in critical condition that makes it difficult for them to take care of themselves. Usually, nurses are driven by the desire to help and are not so much attached to material rewards for their work. However, the nursing field is very crucial since it involves saving lives and taking care of the sick. Therefore, the field needs to be regulated and monitored to ensure that nurses offer services in the right way while observing high levels of professionalism. Initially, the nursing field was in a bad state associated with poor services until the American Association of Colleges of Nursing developed guidelines to regulate and guide the nursing practice. The association endorsed the following nine essentials;
- Liberal Education for Baccalaureate Generalist Nursing Practice
- Basic Organizational and Systems Leadership for Quality Care and Patient Safety
- Scholarship for Evidence-Based Practice
- Information Management and Application of Patient Care Technology
- Healthcare Policy, Finance, and Regulatory Environments
- Interprofessional Communication and Collaboration for Improving Patient Health Outcomes
- Clinical Prevention and Population Health
- Professionalism and Professional Values
- Baccalaureate Generalist Nursing Practice
The Essentials of Baccalaureate Education for Professional Nursing Practice were imposed by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) in 1998. Notably, the creation of the essentials was necessitated by the need to improve healthcare standards and embrace professionalism in the nursing practice. Before the creation of the guidelines, service delivery in healthcare was full of confusion because different medics in different parts of the world worked independently without a common goal (Burton et al., 2019). This made it difficult for them to achieve targets and deliver quality services due to challenges such as relating to patients. In addition, the creation of essentials was propelled by several socioeconomic factors, including the increase in the ageing population and the demand for professional care. According to Araki (2019), nurses also lacked enough skills to build healthy relationships with their patients. Besides, nurses had a poor attitude toward their patients which affected the quality of service delivery in hospitals. Therefore, the creation of the guidelines laid a good foundation in nursing by improving the performance of medical practitioners and enhancing patient welfare. The essentials have also enhanced better nursing practices in all health facilities globally.
Purpose and the Overview of the Essentials
The Relationship between the AACN Essentials and Baccalaureate Nursing Education
The main correlation between the AACN essentials and baccalaureate education is that both try to improve safety in nursing care by offering essential skills and knowledge to them (Burton et al., 2019). In addition, both essentials and baccalaureate education work together to ensure that medics and nurses are well-versed with the healthcare environment in its broad context. However, all this can only be achieved by adopting changes that are brought about by technology in healthcare.
Applying the Essentials on Nursing Practice
The AACN essentials are very critical and applicable in the nursing practice. Notably, the essentials are so vital in designing the nursing curriculum for both undergraduate and postgraduate nursing students (Burton et al., 2019). AACN is committed to ensuring that nursing education improves by adopting a teaching approach that equips the learners with the required practical skills and competencies to transform healthcare. They achieve this by providing resourceful materials and guidelines necessary for the current needs in nursing care and the broad field of health.
Roles of the Baccalaureate Generalist Nurse.
Primarily, baccalaureate generalist nurses take care of patients either directly or indirectly by educating them. Often, nurses have been seen as partners to patients who help them and support them in making decisions in matters regarding their health (Araki, 2019). Additionally, generalist nurses act as managers and coordinators of other minor healthcare personnel to ensure they conduct themselves professionally and perform their duties as expected. Furthermore, they ensure a proper mix of expertise and periodically evaluate the performance of healthcare personnel. Apart from evaluation, they also strive to create a good relationship between healthcare personnel and the patients.
Overview of the AACN Essentials
Description of each essential.
The first AACN essential emphasizes the need for liberal education in the Baccalaureate nursing practice. This essential is meant to develop and foster advanced skills and knowledge in nursing as well as society and culture. Notably, liberal education improves the capacity of nurses in decision-making and problem-solving, making them fit to work in healthcare and handle their tasks with professionalism (Burton et al., 2019). According to AACN, the second essential discusses the basic organizational and systems leadership for quality care and safety of patients. The essential is key to developing required leadership values in the nursing profession to streamline decision-making in ethical cases, develop better conflict resolution procedures and create better working relationships in healthcare. The third essential emphasize embracing an evidence-based approach in nursing practice. It aims at advocating for the use of scientific evidence in the experimentation of the issues affecting the nursing practice in order to evaluate the possible effects they could have on the practice. Fourthly, AACN highlights the essential of managing information and applying patient care technology which discusses the need for having information regarding patients to improve service delivery. Besides, the essential emphasizes the need to adopt new technology in nursing to improve the quality of nursing care.
The fifth essential discusses the health care policies, finance as well as regulation in the nursing practice. According to AACN, all baccalaureate graduates should be in a position to understand the broader context of the nursing practice, including the policies that govern the practice. In addition, they should also be knowledgeable on the financing of healthcare services and the different regulations imposed to govern the nursing practice. Furthermore, the sixth essential is calls for communication and collaboration among health professionals to improve healthcare. The essentials highlight the need for knowledge sharing and proper communication among health practitioners. The seventh AACN essential discusses the clinical prevention of diseases and the need to promote population health. It emphasizes the need to embrace interventions that can aid disease prevention to realize a healthy population. The eighth essential highlights the need to uphold professionalism and professional values in the nursing practice, including observing values of integrity and ethics in the nursing practice. Lastly, the ninth essential is the baccalaureate generalist nursing practice which integrates all the other essentials to improve healthcare.
Purpose and Value of Critical Competencies in the Essentials
Basically, all the essentials revolve around creating a good patient-nurse relationship and developing patient-centred care. To promote patient-centred healthcare, nurses and other health practitioner are expected to respect the preferences of patients and ensure that they involve them in every decision-making regarding their health (Araki, 2019). This creates a good patient-nurse relationship that ensures the patient is satisfied with the services. Additionally, the essentials emphasize the need to develop skills and professionalism among nurses. These skills are developed through the essentials of teamwork and collaboration, leading to improved nursing care. Besides, the essentials play a big role in promoting research on new technology and approaches to the nursing practice.
Discussion and Conclusion.
There exists a strong relationship between historical nursing practices and current nursing practices. Notably, in both historical and current nursing, the nurse-patient relationship is considered an important practice that helps to deliver quality services to patients. This practice is still practised nowadays, where nurses are urged to strive to create good relationships with their patients so that they serve them in the best way possible. This idea has also been emphasized in professional nursing because it is the foundation of improving hospital services. Creating these relationships is fundamental to understanding the patients better and gaining their trust so they can disclose all information needed to treat them (Araki, 2019). Failure to disclose information s a major issue in nursing practice and a hindrance to quality service. Therefore, open communication and disclosure of information between the nurse and the patient set make it easy to treat them with precision. However, it should be noted that nurses must uphold professionalism and guarantee confidentiality with any information disclosed to them by the patients.
Moreover, evidence-based practice is so crucial in decision-making as stipulated by professional nursing practice. This practice is key in helping nurses and other health practitioners to carry out research to understand different phenomena in their field of work. Through evidence-based nursing practice, nurses have been able to engage their patients in their care plans making every patient responsible for their health (Yancey, 2019). Therefore, patients can participate by sharing their opinions, preferences, and suggestions on how they want procedures conducted. The practice is also important to nurses; through the research, they are able to learn new trends and practices which they have not discovered before. Besides, the nursing practice has improved significantly due to the adoption of new technologies that have improved patient safety and outcomes. These technologies, such as medication alerts and trackers, have improved communication among nurses hence, increasing efficiency n healthcare. Developing these systems has also eased health data collection and analysis, making it possible to analyze trends and predict outcomes in healthcare. By adopting all these practices, nurses are able to perform better and offer quality services to their patients.
Since the endorsement of the AACN Essentials of Baccalaureate Education for Professional Nursing in 1998, the field of nursing has seen significant improvements in the quality of nursing care, better patient-nursing relationships, and enhanced professionalism. These essentials have impacted the world in a positive way through the creation of advanced healthcare systems across the globe. This can be seen as a great step compared to the state of healthcare before the creation of the essentials, when the field was short of knowledgeable and skilled practitioners and was associated with poor patient-nurse relationships. However, the essentials changed healthcare in all dimensions and made it more reliable and efficient, which has improved people’s lifestyles through the possibility of leading healthy lives. Therefore, all stakeholders in healthcare institutions should strictly follow the AACN essentials to ensure that patients receive the best quality services. In addition, all institutions of learning offering nursing and other health-related courses should incorporate all the essentials in their curriculums to ensure nursing graduates leave colleges well-equipped with the skills and knowledge to transform healthcare.
Araki, M. (2019) Patient-centred care and professional nursing practices. Journal of biomedical research and clinical investigation, 1, article No. 1004. – References – Scientific research publishing.
Burton, C. W., Williams, J. R., & Anderson, J. (2019). Trauma-informed care education in baccalaureate nursing curricula in the United States: Applying the American Association of Colleges of Nursing Essentials. Journal of forensic nursing, 15(4), 214-221.
Yancey, N. R. (2019). Evidence-based practice in nursing for teaching-learning: But is it really nursing?. Nursing science quarterly, 32(1), 25-28.