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Assessing nursing competency Assignment Paper

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Assessing nursing competency Assignment Paper

How is nursing competency assessed in your health care organization? Is a formal tool used?  Is “competency” an observable function, or is it measured in another way? Using the IOM Core competencies as a guide (Rubenfeld & Scheffer (2010), p. 71), discuss your suggestions for improving quality and consistency of care through assessing nursing competency in your work environment.

Please support your initial discussion and opinions with at least two citations from the assigned readings, or peer-reviewed professional nursing literature. You are required to respond to two peers, but do not need to include reference citations to the responses unless you include someone else’s ideas in the responses. Please refer to the Course Syllabus for Discussion Participation Guidelines & Grading Criteria.

Discussion 3 Question 1

Nursing competencies are assessed by an annual competency tool that is unit specific and annual testing that is completed by our education department. The annual testing consists of Blood Administration, Restraints Usage, Medication Administration, Team Dynamics, Cultural Diversity, End of Life Care and Age Specific tests.

The unit specific competencies are assessed in the orientation process and annually on low volume topics and issues with high incidents through the year, such as fetal demise care, specimen labeling, instrument counting on surgeries, and post partum hemorrhage management. Nurses must remain current on certifications, such as Neonatal Resuscitation, ACLS, and BLS. There are several different ways that a nurse is assessed for competency they are observation of the task, verbal explanation, testing, and return demonstrations. According to our text, “Competency – based evaluations focus on evidence of effective implementation of specified skills; critical elements are demonstrated, but not necessary in a step-by-step format. It’s bottom- line, real world view, not a set textbook steps. In short, it’s all about performance.” (Rubenfeld & Scheffer, 2010)

Some suggestions that I have for improving quality and consistency of care are:

1.The utilization of more e-learning’s on competency skills and orientation for staff. Computers are a daily way of life for the nurse practicing today and we need to become more familiar with their operations. This concept will help the nurse be more familiar with the computer use and it will document that the learning has occurred. I see many preceptors and new staff that just date and initial competencies on a paper and there is no real way of assessing true competency. I also see many nurses that cheat off each other when it is time to complete their annual testing. I feel that if an individual had to actually log in to a computer and view a PowerPoint and answer test questions then it would more reliable than the process that we have currently.

2.Another strategy for assessing improved quality and consistency of care is for the Unit Manager to discuss with charge nurses who work with the staff daily on their performance and competencies, since the unit manager is not able to work side by side with the staff everyday then feedback needs to be found from people who work with them daily.

3.Conducting Mock drills on different incidents that can occur in an area. This would be an excellent way to assess the staff’s critical thinking skills and identify weaknesses and strengths. After reading the assignment for Discussion 3, I realized that currently our organization does not really assess an individual’s critical thinking skills, formally. One way I can think to do this is by conducting the drills on the unit level and house-wide. “Case-based instruction that enhances opportunities to become skilled at critical thinking may be the best method to develop such skills, which may impact nursing care and improve patient outcomes.” (Robert & Peterson, 2013)


Robert, R. and Peterson, S., (2013). Critical Thinking at the Bedside: Providing Safe Passage to Patients. MEDSURG. March-April 2013. Vol. 22/No.2

Rubenfeld, M.G. & Scheffer, B.K. (2010). Critical thinking TACTICS for nurses: Achieving the IMO competencies (2nd ed.). Sudbury, MA. Jones and Bartlett

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