AACN Competencies and the Walden Mission, Vision, and Outcomes

Subject: Nursing
Pages: 3
Words: 587
Reading time:
3 min
Study level: School

The nursing profession is often associated with a variety of virtues. Nurses are taught to cultivate and hold on to values that guide their practice. These values help them attend to people’s health needs and maintain a high quality of healthcare. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing ([AACN], 2006) presents eight main competencies – essentials – that are necessary for nurses with a doctoral degree. These essentials are the pillars that nurses should rely on when considering their values. When nurses work towards their degrees, they are also influenced by the learning organization that provides courses. Walden University’s vision, mission, goals, and university outcomes share many traits with the AACN’s nursing essentials. In particular, both organizations highlight the role of a scholarly basis for social change.

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The first essential outlined by the AACN (2006) is that Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) graduates have a deep understanding of science that influences their practice. Thus, DNP nurses learn to integrate science into their work, later introducing theoretical concepts and translating them into action. One of the Walden University’s (2021) goals is to produce scholarly graduates, implying that the institution strives to enhance students’ appreciation for applying scientific concepts in their work. It is one of my professional and academic goals to improve my understanding of research and analysis. I aim to continuously learn to update my use of theory in a clinical setting.

Another strong connection between the AACN’s essentials and Walden University’s Outcomes is the commitment to social change. The fifth essential outlined by the AACN (2006) is the importance of health care policy for patient advocacy. DNP nurses should learn how to affect society in order to improve population health and care about disenfranchised communities. Walden University (2021) sees as its outcome a student who uses “their knowledge to positively impact their profession, communities, and society” (University Outcomes). Thus, it can be interpreted as a strategy of giving students knowledge for them to use it to enact positive social change. I believe that it is one of the central professionals nursing principles, and it aligns with my professional goal of improving community health.

Social change lies at the foundation of nursing, and such goals as continuous education and community advocacy are inherently connected to it. I plan to continuously educate myself on different parts of healthcare in order to deliver the best care to patients. Here, social development comes from effectively using new knowledge to move the field of nursing forward. As Beeber et al. (2019) note, DNP nurses impact the quality of care by utilizing evidence-based practice and research skills. I also want to drive social change through advocacy as a nursing leader (Edwards et al., 2018). By creating and passing new health policies, I aim to resolve or improve upon issues in the modern healthcare sphere.

Nursing is a profession that requires continuous education and a strong commitment to ethical and scientific values. The AACN outlines the role of science in nurses’ practice, and Walden University wants to see scholarly graduates with a robust theoretical basis. Moreover, both organizations highlight the value of advocacy and social change as a part of nursing. Walden University aims to teach students to use their knowledge to change society, and the AACN states that nurses need to learn about policy to shape healthcare. My professional goals are inspired by the need to bring social change and improve both individual and population health. I wish to use my education and position as a nursing leader to move nursing forward.


American Association of Colleges of Nursing. (2006). The essentials of doctoral education for advanced nursing practice. Author.

Beeber, A. S., Palmer, C., Waldrop, J., Lynn, M. R., & Jones, C. B. (2019). The role of doctor of nursing practice-prepared nurses in practice settings. Nursing Outlook, 67(4), 354-364.

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Edwards, N. E., Coddington, J., Erler, C., & Kirkpatrick, J. (2018). The impact of the role of Doctor of Nursing Practice nurses on healthcare and leadership. Medical Research Archives, 6(4), 1-11. Web.

Walden university. (2021). Vision, mission, and goals.