The Level of Competence of Novice Registered Nurses

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INTRODUCTION
Background of the Study

For any newly licensed registered nurse about to embark on her nursing career, the concept of competence is of great personal and professional significance. Questions abound regarding what it means to be a competent nurse and how competence is measured. Nursing competency is defined by the National Council for State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) as the “application of knowledge, interpersonal decision-making and psychomotor skills expected for the practice role within the context of public health.” (NCSBN, 2005, p. 1) Continuing competency is not new to healthcare, nor is it new to the nursing profession. Continuing competence is defined as “the ongoing commitment of a registered nurse to integrate and apply the knowledge, skills and judgment with the attitudes, values and beliefs required to practice safely, effectively and ethically in a designated role and setting” (Continuing Competence Task Force, 2011, p. 4). “How competent are nurses in giving quality nursing care?” That is the question that is foremost in the minds of patients that are admitted in the hospital. The subject of competence may be a sensitive topic, but “patients, families and communities have a right to receive competent nursing care. The public has a right to expect registered nurses to demonstrate professional competence throughout their careers. Activities related to identifying and establishing nursing competencies have been the focus of state nursing associations, regulatory boards, educators, professional associations, external stakeholders, and individual nurses” (Washington State Nurses Association, 2010, p. 2). As the pace of technological and scientific development accelerates, one of the greatest challenges in nursing practice is the attainment, maintenance and advancement of professional competence. Issues related to competence are important to individual nurses, nurse educators who prepare nursing students and nurse administrators who hire new nurses. It is important to address the issue of nursing competence because it impacts nursing practice, not only in the transition from student nurse to beginning practitioner, but also when the nurse changes practice setting or role, achieves additional education, or when technology or care management changes. The idea for the study came about because the researcher believes that there is a need for competence in nursing practice.

The researcher is interested to know how nursing competence is measured in the Philippines. Is there a competency checklist that registered nurses need to accomplish to determine their competence? There is a need to determine the level of competence of registered nurses because the public needs assurance that nurses are capable and safe providers of nursing care. In addition, as professionals, nurses need validation that they are competent practitioners. They will benefit from studies that give credence to the practice of their profession.

Statement of the Problem
The purpose of the study is to determine the level of competence of novice registered nurses in Bacolod City. It further aims to answer the following research questions:
1. What is the profile of novice registered nurses in Bacolod City according to:
1.1 Age
1.2 Sex
1.3 Hospital employed
2. What is the level of competence of novice registered nurses in Bacolod City in terms of the following competencies: 2.1 Patient care
2.2 Empowering
2.3 Enhancing
2.4 Enabling
3. What is the level of competence of novice registered nurses in Bacolod City in terms of patient care competencies when grouped according to the following variables?
3.1 Age
3.2 Sex
3.3 Hospital employed
4. What is the level of competence of novice registered nurses in Bacolod City in terms of empowering competencies when grouped according to the following variables?
4.1 Age
4.2 Sex
4.3 Hospital employed
5. What is the level of competence of new graduate nurses...
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