Measurement Issues in Promoting Continued Competence


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Abstract

PurposePromoting continued competence in nursing practice has always been of concern to staff development and continuing education educators. Recently it has reached new levels of significance. As a result of the proposals made by the Pew Commission Taskforce on Health Care Workforce Regulation and the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, the profession is re-examining the question, “How do we promote and assure continued competence?” The purpose of this article is to examine the measurement issues related to answering this question.FindingsThe nursing literature provides several definitions of competence, but none are operational. To measure a concept it must be operationalized. Mandatory continuing education, peer review, and practice or process audits have been used to assess continued competence. The measurement issues involved in assessing competence include selecting an appropriate measurement paradigm, selecting accurate measurement instruments, and interpreting the measurement data.ImplicationsStaff development educators and nurse managers should collaborate in the establishment of standards of practice, the identification of essential competencies specific to the setting, and the development of appropriate methods of measurement of these competencies.

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