Competencies in the context of entry-level registered nurse practice: a collaborative project in Canada

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To present the process used by professional staff from 10 Canadian jurisdictional regulatory bodies to develop entry-level competencies for registered nurse practice.


Canada is composed of provinces and territories, commonly referred to as jurisdictions with the governmental legal authority to administer the affairs of the area. Each jurisdiction establishes regulatory bodies with the mandate to protect the public.


The Executive Directors of the jurisdictional regulatory bodies initiated this collaborative project to develop entry-level competencies for registered nurses. The purpose of the project was to enhance the consistency of entry-level registered nurse competencies, thereby supporting reciprocity of registration and workforce mobility, within Canada. This was the first time that Canadian nursing regulatory bodies have collaborated in a jurisdictional-driven project of this magnitude for registered nurses exclusively. This initiative has demonstrated how nursing regulatory bodies, working together, can achieve a common goal.


The project participants worked from 2004 to 2006, developing and refining the competencies. Multiple methods were used to accomplish the task, including monthly teleconferences, frequent E-mail communications, small group work and face-to-face meetings. At various stages in the project, consultation with registered nurses within several participating jurisdictions occurred, depending on where each jurisdiction was in their jurisdictional competency review. This project spanned a 2-year period and resulted in a comprehensive document that captured the views of the participants and enhanced the resulting document.


The result is a document stating the core competencies for entry-level registered nurses in the 10 participating jurisdictions and includes several components that establish the context in which entry-level competencies are developed and applied. The 119 competency statements are organized in a standard-based framework of five categories: professional responsibility and accountability; knowledge-based practice; ethical practice; service to the public; and self-regulation. The project team plans to follow up on implementation as each jurisdiction decides how to use the competencies within their particular jurisdiction.

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