Newswise — WASHINGTON, DC, December 5, 2022 – The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) is pleased to announce that 10 schools of nursing have been selected to participate in a national initiative designed to transform nursing education and practice. With funding through the American Nurses Foundation’s Reimagining Nursing Initiative, AACN launched a three-year initiative earlier this year, titled Competency-Based Education for Practice-Ready Nurse Graduates, to accelerate the move to competency-based education and the rapid adoption of The Essentials: Core Competencies for Professional Nursing Education.

“Changing how we educate nurses and assess their learning, while engaging practice partners more deeply in this process, is the key to preparing more practice-ready nurses,” said AACN President and Chief Executive Officer Deborah Trautman. “I applaud the 10 schools of nursing selected to participate in this groundbreaking initiative for their commitment to leading change and for sharing their lessons learned and success strategies with nursing schools nationwide.”

Through this initiative, AACN is asking nursing schools to develop and implement competency-based learning and assessment in 2 out of the 10 areas of professional nursing competency identified in the Essentials: Population Health and one other Domain chosen by the school of nursing. Selected schools will receive $100,000 in funding to support curriculum redesign efforts as well as technical assistance from AACN through March 2025. Following a call for proposals issued in October 2022, a total of 76 completed applications were received with the following schools selected to participate: 

  • Creighton University – Nebraska
  • Fairfield University – Connecticut
  • Johns Hopkins University – Maryland
  • Russell Sage College – New York
  • Samuel Merritt University – California
  • Texas State University – Texas
  • University of Southern Mississippi – Mississippi
  • University of Texas-Arlington – Texas
  • Walla Walla University – Washington
  • Wright State University – Ohio

Participating schools are geographically diverse and represent a range of institutional types (public and private institutions; small and large schools; rural and urban-serving programs, etc.). Special consideration was given to schools that identified equity as a core guiding principal and to schools serving under-represented and rural populations.  The other competency Domains selected by schools as a focus of their implementation work include Knowledge for Nursing Practice, Person-Centered Care, Quality and Safety, Interprofessional Partnerships, Informatics and Healthcare Technologies, Professionalism, and Personal, Professional, and Leadership Development.

Using a blind review process and an established rubric to assess applicant strength, the following academic nursing leaders participated on the review committee that selected the schools for this initiative: 

  • Debra Barksdale, University of North Carolina-Greensboro
  • Kristie Davis-Collins, University of North Carolina-Greensboro
  • Sara Daykin, University of New Mexico
  • Lindsay Draper, University of North Carolina-Greensboro
  • Greg Eagerton, The University of Alabama at Birmingham
  • Brandy Estes, Texas A&M University-Commerce
  • Maggie Faber, University of New Mexico
  • Denise Neill, Texas A&M University-Commerce
  • Kristen Ostrem-Niemcewicz, University of New Mexico
  • Tricia Templet, University of Louisiana at Lafayette
  • Amber Vermeesch, University of North Carolina-Greensboro
  • Susan Ward, Nebraska Methodist College
  • Marsha Yembi, Nebraska Methodist College

This project will employ a technical assistance model, which will involve collaborative support and guidance from AACN that is both targeted and adaptive to address the needs of individual schools and their practice partners. Based on the learnings from the pilot schools, AACN will develop an adaptable framework for competency-based education that can be applied across diverse academic nursing programs and practice settings.


# # #


The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) is the voice for academic nursing representing more than 850 member schools of nursing at public and private institutions nationwide. AACN works to establish quality standards for nursing education; assists schools in implementing those standards; influences the nursing profession to improve health care; and promotes public support for professional nursing education, research, and practice.