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After reading the nine Essentials of Baccalaureate Education and trying to decide which of these I would not use in my nursing practice, I arose to the conclusion that all of these essentials will be used in my future as a Baccalaureate-educated nurse. Each one will affect every type and level of nursing care.

As mentioned in AACN, (2008) “the essentials document serves to transform baccalaureate nursing education by providing the curricular elements and framework for building the baccalaureate nursing curriculum for the 21st century (p 3).” Each essential provides an element of expected performance from each nurse who graduates from a baccalaureate program. Nursing requires a holistic approach while providing on-going care with the expectation of exceptional patient outcomes. The essentials provide information regarding everything from liberal education, leadership, evidence-based practice, technology, finance, communication and collaboration, disease prevention and professionalism. This multi-faceted approach supports a well-rounded professional who is able to care for not just the patient but the family and/or caregivers.

Though I do not think that I can omit any of these essentials from my practice, I do know that the one that stands out to me is Essential VI: Interprofessional Communication and Collaboration for Improving Patient Health Outcomes regarding communication and collaboration. This to me is the absolute foundation to any nursing job. According to AACN (2008), “Effective communication and collaboration among health professionals is imperative to providing patient-centered care” (p 22). Communication and teamwork are what creates positive client outcomes and experiences. With this being said, Essential II: Basic Organizational and Systems Leadership for Quality Care and Patient Safety regarding leadership is also very important. Effective leadership is valuable to the client and the employee. Leaders are not all necessarily managers but is any nurse who delegates, instructs or just functions in her daily routines. Leaders have effective communication skills, a level of professionalism, excellent critical-thinking skills and problem-solving capabilities. These two qualities of communication and leadership create a basic, solid foundation for every nurse.

The one essential I am particularly having difficulty understanding and is the most complex would be Essential 1: Liberal Education for Baccalaureate Generalist Nursing Practice which from what I can gather is it is a complex, culturally-driven approach. I would explain to someone without any knowledge of AACN, is that with our constantly changing world, having a wide range of diversity, it is important to understand or have some knowledge of how to care for someone who may not have the same beliefs as yourself. As stated by Sanner, Baldwin, Cannella, Charles and Parker 2010 “it is essential that nurses provide culturally competent care” (p 56). Just as I have spoken about the holistic approach, this essential would also require an element of sensitivity and understanding. To me now that I have read it over and over, it seems to be the most well-rounded, diverse approach and it makes sense to me the importance of why it exists. As (Hood, 2018) mentions about reflection “sometimes reflection results in the resolution (or “aha moment”) of confounding situations or with the feeling that one has learned something that is personally significant. Reflection may result in profound changes in attitudes or behaviors.” (p 178). Having an interaction with someone who may have a completely different life style than yourself, can actually create a moment of realism, realizing that this is a person too with real feelings and emotions. We all derive from different places and different life experiences, so it’s important to keep an open mind. You may actually find yourself in the process.

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