Author(s): Numminen O, Meretoja R, Isoaho H, LeinoKilpi H
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Abstract AIMS AND OBJECTIVES: To compare nurse competence in terms of its quality and frequency of action in medical, surgical, paediatric/obstetric/gynaecological and psychiatric clinical fields. BACKGROUND: One challenge of current health care is to target practising nurses' competencies to optimal use. Therefore, a systematic assessment of nurse competence is justified. Studies using the Nurse Competence Scale have found that nurses' competence is on a good or very good level and it increases with age and work experience. DESIGN: A cross-sectional comparative survey using the Nurse Competence Scale. METHODS: A purposive sample of 2083 nurses in a major University Hospital in Finland participated in this study in 2007-2008. Descriptive statistics and inferential statistics' anova with Bonferroni correction, and Pearson/Spearman correlation coefficients were used to analyse the data. RESULTS: The overall level of competence of nurses was good, and the quality of action correlated positively with the frequency of action. Nurses in the psychiatric field reached somewhat higher overall mean scores than nurses in other clinical fields. On item level, nurses seemed to be the most competent in actions related to immediate individualised patient care, the maintenance of their own professional competence and commitment to nursing ethics. Age and particularly work experience were positively correlated with the competence. CONCLUSION: Findings from this large data corroborate previous study results on the category level assessment of nurse competence using the Nurse Competence Scale indicating a good level of competence. On item level, findings revealed more detailed themes of nurse competence, which complements earlier knowledge retrieved from the category level analysis and could be used to target nurses' competencies to even more optimal use. RELEVANCE TO CLINICAL PRACTICE: Competence assessment and targeted interventions are recommended as tools for the management for planning nurses' career development and continuing education to ensure competent and motivated work force and high-quality care. © 2013 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
This article was published in J Clin Nurs
and referenced in Journal of Nursing & Care