NLN Publishes New Vision Statement: Integrating Competency-Based Education in the Nursing Curriculum

NLN Publishes New Vision Statement: Integrating Competency-Based Education in the Nursing Curriculum

Endorses Learning Model that Prioritizes Mastery of Key Competencies for a Practice-Ready Nursing Workforce

Washington, DC — With nursing education at a crossroads, the National League for Nursing has released the latest NLN Vision Series entry on Integrating Competency-Based Education in the Nursing Curriculum. This new vision statement provides a comprehensive overview and detailed guidelines for implementing competency-based education to address a series of nursing challenges across a range of higher education and clinical settings.

Those challenges include: an ever-growing demand for nurses; nurses’ disillusionment with practice realities; long-standing inequity in care delivery; acknowledged history of racism and bias within the profession and its educational processes; digital transformation; and employer dissatisfaction with new graduate capabilities.

Competencies are an integrated whole of knowledge, skills, judgment, and abilities that are observable and measurable, and that promote a shared understanding of what individuals should know and be able to do. In emphasizing assessment, evaluation, and demonstrated performance of key competencies—behaviors, decision-making, actions, outcomes—competency-based education prioritizes student development, capability, and occupational readiness over delivery of content and theoretical understanding.

In taking account of different student learning styles and varying paths and timelines to the mastery of required skills, competency-based education offers distinct guideposts in the preparation of a diverse, culturally competent nursing workforce to meet the needs of today’s dynamic, sophisticated health care environment and highly segmented patient population.

This new Vision Statement concludes a long process of study and reflection. Given the realities of nursing today, it shifts from traditional time-focused content delivery to a student-centered model of learning that increases engagement and accountability and will, therefore, maximize patient safety and well-being,” said NLN Chair Kathleen Poindexter, PhD, RN, CNE, ANEF, interim associate dean of academic affairs at Michigan State University in Lansing.

NLN President and CEO Beverly Malone, PhD, RN, FAAN, said, “It is vital that academic and practice partners closely collaborate to establish competencies that promote the preparation of practice-ready nurses and ultimately foster professional commitment. The National League for Nursing believes that competency-based education can spur actions that our organization, nurse faculty, and leaders in schools of nursing can undertake to prepare nursing graduates who can meet the realities of practice in our current and future health care system.”

As in all NLN Vision Statements, Integrating Competency-Based Education in the Nursing Curriculum includes a list of recommendations for professional development, investment in resources, creation of tools and methodologies for effective implementation, and design for academic and practice environments that welcome a transition to a curriculum focused on competency-based education.

For the complete text of this latest entry in the NLN Vision Series, visit


About the National League for Nursing

Dedicated to excellence in nursing, the National League for Nursing is the premier organization for nurse faculty and leaders in nursing education. The NLN offers professional development, networking opportunities, testing services, nursing research grants, and public policy initiatives to its nearly 45,000 individual and 1,100 institutional members, comprising nursing education programs across the spectrum of higher education and health care organizations. Learn more at

February 9, 2023


Michael Keaton, Deputy Chief Communications Officer