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Master's degree nursing education and health care reform: Preparing for the future

Journal of Professional Nursing
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/8755-7223(94)90066-3
  • Economics
  • Education


Abstract Current and anticipated changes in health care delivery indicate a need for reform within nursing education. Master's degree education can be a valuable component in the preparation of future nurses, but assessment and revision of existing programs are necessary. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing's position paper, Nursing Education's Agenda for the 21st Century, provides recommendations for educational reform in general and for master's degree education specifically. Overall recommendations include greater focus on the development of unique aspects in each school's mission, emphasis on nursing as a practice discipline, and the inclusion of all aspects—content, processes, and out-comes—in curricular revisions. Master's degree education is reaffirmed as preparation for those who will advance practice. In keeping with health care delivery trends, advanced practice nurses will require substantial expertise in health promotion, primary health care, case management, health care economics, and change strategies. Many questions remain unanswered regarding appropriate future directions for master's degree education. There is little consensus on core knowledge or a single appropriate title for advanced practice nurses. The amount and type of research preparation, and the need for role preparation are other controversial issues. The future holds exciting potential, but there will be significant challenges in program revisioning, faculty redevelopment and clarification of goals and methods for master's degree education.

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