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Achieving nursing competency: pragmatic considerations

18 April 2024
Volume 33 · Issue 8

Competency is usually linked to the ability to practise a skill within an individual's scope of practice. The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) (2018) states that each nurse is accountable for understanding and working within their scope of practice, indicating that registrants must be procedurally competent to provide best evidence-based practice, recognising their own level of competence and limitations through reflection. They must also exercise professional accountability to ensure patient safety in accordance with laws, policies and regulations.

Nursing is hugely diverse with a multitude of specialties and individual nurses working to differing levels within these. So how do nurses manage their competencies over a range of skills and ensure these are fully developed and maintained? According to the NMC (2018), they should engage with continuing professional development and revalidation.

The definition of nursing competency includes nursing practice and decision-making as core principles (NMC, 2018). The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) (2024) describes competency as a combination of skills, training, experience and knowledge that enable a person to perform a task, alongside their attitude and physical ability. These descriptions demonstrate the complexity of competency and its inter-dependent elements.

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