BACKGROUND: Nursing practice requires application of knowledge, skills and values in various combinations and has undergone substantial changes the last decades. An increased focus on inter-professional collaboration and possible new and more independent roles for nurses are described. A variety of programs have been developed in order to educate registered nurses (RN) to meet the changes and demands in health and nursing care throughout the world.
AIM: The aims were to 1) describe nurses' self-assessment of clinical competence and need for further training, and 2) explore possible differences between nurses in specialist vs master's programs.
METHODS: A cross-sectional survey design was applied. 97 nurses in postgraduate programs from five countries responded (response rate 45%). A revised version of the Professional Nurse Self-Assessment Scale of clinical core competencies (PROFFNurseSASII) was used for data collection. Independent student t-test and regression analyses were carried out.
RESULTS: The respondents rated their competence highest in taking full responsibility, cooperation with other health professionals and in acting ethically. Items where they considered themselves needing further training most were competence on medications, interaction and side effects and differential diagnoses. For all items, nurses in master's programs rated their competence higher than nurses in the specialist programs. Nurses in specialist programs rated their need for more training for all items higher than nurses in master's degree programs, and for 47 out of the 50 items these differences were statistically significant.
CONCLUSION: Even though the nurses rated their competence high for important competence aspects such as taking responsibility and cooperation with other health professionals, it is worrying that their need for further training was highest for effects and interaction of various types of medications. Further studies are needed to conclude if and how master's education improves patient outcome.
- Journal Article
- NURSING COMPETENCE