Nursing education prepares future nurses by training them on basic nursing skills and competencies that they will find useful in their future nursing practice. The American nursing education curriculum is regulated by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN). The AACN provides numerous guidelines and policies that regulate and limit the scope and operations of American nursing education curriculum. The AACN published the Essentials of Baccalaureate Education for Professional Nursing Practice, BSN Essentials, (2008) to incorporate various vital practical competencies into the nursing curriculums used in training of nurses enrolled in American colleges. The BSN Essentials incorporates the use of modern nursing technology, essential nursing skills, and contemporary evidence-based practices in the American nursing curriculum to promote the training of competent future nurses. A fully-fledged nursing baccalaureate student should possess basic nursing competencies and perform practical nursing skills as set out by the guidelines of the BSN Essentials.
The nursing education I have gained has imparted in me basic nursing skills and competencies set out by the BSN Essentials guidelines of 2008. The BSN Essentials (2008) guidelines are grouped into divergent categories, such as safety, evidence-based practice, teamwork and collaboration, and patient-centered care, among others, to ensure that the guidelines encompass the wide field of nursing (Lee, Park, & Jeong, 2012). Each of these various classifications has its unique nursing competencies that a qualified baccalaureate nurse should possess. Using the skills gained from my college nursing education, I can now confidently and accurately assess both predictive and protective factors that influence both the health of individuals and of communities. Protective and predictive factors include an individual’s behavior and lifestyle, medical history, and genetics, and social factors that contribute towards the health of individuals within a society (Mauk, 2010). Through my nursing studies, I have come to the understanding that both protective and predictive factors affect peoples’ health as they can positively or negatively affect the health-promoting behaviors of individuals in society.
Nursing education equips nursing students with competencies and knowledge that are relevant in nursing practice. Thanks to my studies, I am able to conduct an inclusive study to analyze the health history of a patient, including his or her unique environmental exposure and family history. Moreover, intensive clinic interviews and health history questionnaires have enabled me to collect, organize, and tabulate relevant health history of a patient to make a diagnosis. According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (2008), a proper health history record of a patient, including the patient’s biographic and demographic data can help a nurse to come up with a proper treatment plan for the patient. Using the competencies I have gained in my baccalaureate nursing studies, I can now evaluate the divergent health beliefs, attitudes, and practices espoused by individuals and communities. A thorough and proper assessment of people’s beliefs and values about illnesses is important as it enables a nurse to come up with tailored medical interventions for individuals espousing divergent beliefs and values.
Nursing education equips baccalaureate nursing students with the various behavioral change techniques needed to promote health and manage illnesses in modern health facilities. According to the BSN Essentials guidelines 2008, there are nine major categories for strategies dealing with behavioral change in the proper management of diseases (American Association of Colleges of Nursing, 2008). The categories for behavioral change address issues dealing with knowledge, social influence, attitude, self-efficacy, intention, action control, maintenance, and facilitation of relevant behavioral change strategies used in modern nursing.
As a nursing student, I have learned the various evidence-based practices and issues surrounding them. I have learned how to apply the evidence-based practice methods in health education, counseling, screening, outreach, disease and outbreak investigation, referral, and follow-up among numerous other nursing practice areas. Moreover, I now know the importance of incorporating the latest evidence from both medical and nursing studies, patient values and preferences, and clinician expertise in my day to day clinical decision-making process. Through my nursing course, I have come to understand the various ethical issues that surround the use of evidence-based practice methods in the contemporary nursing field.
The incorporation of modern science and technology and concepts into the modern nursing education curriculum has equipped me with the relevant nursing skills needed to use information and communication technologies in inpatient care. The nursing informatics and electronic health record systems in modern nursing are examples of the incorporation of modern technology in the fields of nursing and medicine (Lee et al., 2012). Indeed, the use of modern technology in the nursing field is a big step forward in the improvement of the quality of nursing offered in the average American healthcare facility.
Through the numerous nursing skills and knowledge that I have gained throughout my nursing course, I have developed the ability to assess and analyze the health and emergency preparedness needs of a given population. My nursing education has empowered me with advanced nursing analytic and assessment capabilities that I can use to check the health preparedness levels of a given community. Health preparedness level of a health facility or nation is important in preparing for health pandemics and emergencies.
Through engagement in numerous teambuilding and various team work sessions during my nursing studies in college I developed a comprehensive teamwork and collaboration skillset. My teamwork and collaborative capabilities come in handy as they help me to collaborate with other medical professionals to develop medical and nursing intervention plans that can be actualized in a practical nursing situation. My teamwork capabilities come in handy in cases of disasters, pandemics, prevention of illnesses and injuries, and premature death when collaborative efforts in nursing are required most. Through my nursing course, I have developed the cooperative and collaborative skills that have enabled me to work together with other healthcare professionals and patients. The collaborative and cooperative skills are important for teamwork which is essential for health promotion and disease and injury prevention interventions. My nursing education has equipped me with the relevant competencies necessary in clinical prevention interventions and population-focused nursing interventions. These competencies come in handy during disasters and emergency scenarios where population focused nursing interventions is essential in saving lives.
My nursing education equipped me with the relevant ethical knowledge and how they are applied in the field of nursing. My knowledge on nursing ethics has enables me to tune my nursing practice on the thin and narrow of ethical nursing practice. The incorporation of the role social justice plays in the nursing sector in nursing education has enables me to critically think on ways of reducing both social disparities and the better treatment of vulnerable populations in society. This information has enabled me to advocate for both social change and health inclusivity policies at the national level of decision making. Lastly, through my nursing education, I can use evaluation results to influence the delivery of care, deployment of resources, and to provide input into the development of relevant health policies. My nursing education has equipped me with the relevant advocacy skills needed to advocate for better health policies and guidelines aimed at improving not only the quality of health provision in the country but also the ethical guidelines for the nursing sector.
The AACN regulates the provision of nursing education and maintains the standards of nursing in America. The AACN through its BSN Essentials ensure that the American nursing curriculum prepares and equips nursing students for the rigors of real world nursing practice. Every student who completes the requisite nursing curriculum is therefore assumed to have in his or her possession the relevant nursing competencies listed in the BSN Essentials.
American Association of Colleges of Nursing. (2008). The essentials of baccalaureate education for professional nursing practice. Washington, DC: American Association of Colleges of Nursing.
Lee, S. K., Park, S. N. & Jeong, S. H. (2012). Nursing core competencies needed in the fields of nursing practice for graduates in nursing. Journal of Korean Academy of Nursing Administration, 18(4), 460-473. https://doi.org/10.11111/jkana.2012.18.4.460
Mauk, K. L. (2010). Gerontological nursing: competencies for care. Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.