Defining 'competency' in nursing (part II): an analytical review

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SummaryThe reason for the present uncertainty in defining nursing competency is analysed.The prevailing educational philosophy underpinning nursing preparation for competence is subjected to a critique.The effect and outcome of this philosophy on clinical supervision, PREP and the law are considered in relation to nursing competence.It is concluded that because nursing competency is only vaguely and broadly defined, preparation and assessment of competency is haphazard and unstructured; and hence a potential safety hazard for both patient and nurse.It is suggested that the UKCC needs to assume responsibility for ascertaining nursing competence; and a four-point framework is proposed for setting and testing national standards of nursing competency.

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