What is competence? : An exploration of what it means for future nurses
conference contributionposted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 by Carina Anderson, Lorna Moxham, John Broadbent
Introduction: Each year when a Registered Nurse renews their license to practice they complete a self assessment form and sign a declaration that they are competent to practice. When a Registered Nurse signs this declaration they are legally pronouncing their competence as indicated by the Australian and Nursing Midwifery Council (ANMC) competency standards. Background: The notion of competence could be considered contentious due to its complexity and as a result can cause some confusion. Competence is often described as the ability to perform a specific task, function or action and in 2004 the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Council (ANMC) described competence as ‘possessing the skills and abilities required for lawful, safe and effective practice without direct supervision. Data/Methods: A review of contemporary nursing literature was undertaken to critically examine the notion of competence and in particular how this concept relates to registered nurses in Australia. Analysis revealed that competence is a complex, interrelated set of constructs that form a multi faceted concept. Additionally and overlaying this with Australian nursing context is the fact that the ANMC competency standards are multi dimensional. Conclusions: This paper examines this concept of competence and argues that there is more to competence than performing a task successfully. Nursing competence requires not only the ability to perform a particular task or skill but also involves making informed decisions and appropriate choices to determine the best possible outcomes for ultimate patient care.