OADN: Best Practices in Nursing Education
Rick García, PhD, RN, CCM, FAAOHN, FAADN
Chief Executive Officer
Organization for Associate Degree Nursing (OADN), and OADN Foundation
Published May 2023
As the demand for nurses continues to increase, the importance of nursing education and accreditation cannot be overstated. In the United States, the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) is responsible for ensuring that nursing programs meet rigorous standards of excellence. One such program is the Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN), which prepares graduates for entry-level nursing positions. In this editorial, we will discuss the best practices in nursing education, with a focus on the ADN program and ACEN accreditation.
One of the key best practices in nursing education is ensuring that students have access to high-quality clinical experiences. Clinical rotations provide students with the opportunity to apply theoretical concepts to real-world situations, develop critical thinking skills, and gain hands-on experience working with patients. ADN programs should strive to provide students with a range of clinical experiences in diverse settings, such as hospitals, clinics, and community health centers. Additionally, clinical experiences should be well-organized, supervised, and supported by experienced nursing faculty.
Another best practice in nursing education is incorporating evidence-based practice into the curriculum. Evidence-based practice involves using the best available evidence to inform clinical decision-making. By incorporating evidence-based practice into the curriculum, ADN programs can ensure that graduates are equipped with the knowledge and skills needed to provide safe, effective, and culturally congruent patient-centered care. This can include teaching students how to critically appraise research literature, identify gaps in knowledge, and use evidence to guide their practice.
Furthermore, ADN programs should promote a culture of lifelong learning among students. Nursing is a rapidly evolving field, and it is essential that nurses stay up to date with the latest research, technology, and best practices. ADN programs should encourage students to pursue continuing education and professional development opportunities, such as attending conferences, participating in research projects, and pursuing advanced degrees.
In addition, effective communication skills are critical for nurses to provide safe and effective care to their patients. Therefore, ADN programs should incorporate communication skills training into the curriculum. This can include teaching students how to effectively communicate with patients, families, and other healthcare professionals, as well as how to document and report patient information accurately and concisely.
Moreover, ADN programs should prioritize diversity, equity, and inclusion in their curriculum and clinical experiences. This means ensuring that the program reflects the diversity of the communities they serve and providing opportunities for students to work with diverse patient populations. ADN programs should also provide education and training on cultural competence, address social determinants of health, and social mission in nursing within their curriculum.
Lastly, ACEN accreditation is an important benchmark for ensuring that ADN programs are meeting high standards of excellence. ACEN accreditation is a voluntary, peer-review process that evaluates nursing education programs based on their mission, resources, faculty, curriculum, and outcomes. By seeking ACEN accreditation, ADN programs demonstrate their commitment to providing high-quality education that prepares graduates for successful careers in nursing.
Nursing education is a critical component of healthcare, and ADN programs play a vital role in preparing nurses for entry-level positions. By incorporating best practices such as providing high-quality clinical experiences, incorporating evidence-based practice, promoting lifelong learning, prioritizing effective communication skills, and prioritizing diversity, equity, and inclusion, ADN programs can ensure that their graduates are equipped with the knowledge and skills needed to provide safe, effective, and patient-centered care. Furthermore, seeking ACEN accreditation demonstrates a commitment to excellence and ensures that nursing education programs are meeting high standards of quality.