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WGU NURSING AND HEALTH AACN Nursing Certification Essentials at WGU

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The RN-to-BSN program at WGU is aligned to meet the 2021 AACN Essentials, which provides curriculum standards that ensure students learn relevant skills and gain the knowledge needed to be successful nurses and meet today's nursing and healthcare demands.

What is AACN?

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing aims to be “the national voice for academic nursing.” As the largest specialty nursing organization in the world, the AACN was founded in 1969 and now represents more than 840 colleges and universities. (The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses also uses the AACN acronym, but the American Association of Colleges of Nursing is the organization most commonly referred to where broad certified nursing education is concerned without respect to a specific nursing discipline.)

The AACN states that they work to:

  • Set forth quality standards for nursing education
  • Help schools adhere to these standards
  • Improve healthcare within the nursing profession
  • Encourage public support for professional nursing education, certification, research, and practice

What is AACN Essentials?

AACN Essentials refers to the core competencies needed for nursing school graduates. The AACN sets standards for nursing programs around the country to meet to ensure that nurses are being trained at a high level. The AACN Essentials are the standards that help schools understand what their program needs to deliver to meet the requirements of current workforce needs.

As of April 2021, the new AACN Essentials takes a competency-based approach. The competencies are organized under 10 domains and pertain to all levels and specialties within the field of nursing. Each competency is communicated as a brief statement, meant to serve as a component within the larger domain. Every competency also has sub-competencies that are understandable, observable, and measurable. View the full list of AACN Essentials here.

What Are The 10 AACN Essentials?

As of April 2021, the 10 domains that comprise the Essentials are:

1. Knowledge for Nursing Practice

2. Person-Centered Care

3. Population Health

4. Scholarship for the Nursing Discipline

5. Quality and Safety

6. Interprofessional Partnerships

7. Systems-Based Practice

8. Informatics and Healthcare Technologies

9. Professionalism

10. Personal, Professional, and Leadership Development

How Do Schools Meet AACN Criteria?

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing aims to be “the national voice for academic nursing.” As the largest specialty nursing organization in the world, the AACN was founded in 1969 and now represents more than 840 colleges and universities. (The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses also uses the AACN acronym, but the American Association of Colleges of Nursing is the organization most commonly referred to where broad certified nursing education is concerned without respect to a specific nursing discipline.)

The AACN states that they work to:

  • Set forth quality standards for nursing education
  • Help schools adhere to these standards
  • Improve healthcare within the nursing profession
  • Encourage public support for professional nursing education, certification, research, and practice

Why is AACN Essentials Program Alignment Important?

Certified nursing programs that have aligned their curricula with the AACN Essentials are especially well positioned to prepare students for today’s unique nursing challenges. Students who earn their BSN degree through an AACN aligned program like WGU’s RN-to-BSN program will receive the most relevant and career-focused training. Their nursing education will give them advanced practice and deep levels of competency across many crucial skill areas and domains.

A Quality BSN Program Aligned with AACN Essentials

WGU is proud to offer an RN-to-BSN program that aligns with AACN Essentials. Students who earn a BSN degree through this program gain an education that prepares them for nursing certification and today’s unique challenges within the field of nursing. WGU nursing graduates are well-equipped to provide the best care to patients, lifting those who work with them and also the patients they serve.