The Importance of Continuing Competence for Nurses
Nursing is a self-regulating profession where nurses set their own standards of practice “based on research and clinical evidence” (College of Registered Nurses of British Columbia [CRNBC], 2013), and ensures that patients receive the highest quality care possible (CRNBC, 2013). All nurses are required to meet The College of Registered Nurses of British Columbia’s (CRNBC) annual Continuing Competence Requirements as an indicator to the public that they are maintaining their competence to practice (CRNBC, 2013). Continuing competence in nursing is the continual assessment and improvement of a nurse’s ability to “use his or her knowledge, skill, judgment, attitudes, values and beliefs to perform in a given role” (Ross-Kerr & Wood, 2010). There are infinite possible patient scenarios that may come up in nursing practices along with different learning opportunities. It is important for nurses to evaluate and reflect on their actions in order to improve on their future practices. It also allows nurses to critically think about the experience, and identify any assumptions and alternate perspectives. Continuing competence helps identify one’s own strengths and weaknesses, and is a critical component in professional development as a nurse, and as an individual. Being a student nurse, part of the requirement in clinical practice is to write weekly reflective journals. I often journal about a meaningful event that happened during clinical and I find it very enlightening. As I am writing, I can often break the situation down into parts, and view it from different angles. It helps me recognize what I could have done differently or better, and what I have done well. I would like to incorporate journaling as a part of my professional development plan in the future. But what I have the most interest in, is keeping up to date with medical news, particularly information regarding novel diseases or treatments.
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