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An overview of the ways nurses understand and utilise the existing Australian Competency Standards for Registered Nurses


Terry, K and Stirling, C and Bull, R and Fassett, D, An overview of the ways nurses understand and utilise the existing Australian Competency Standards for Registered Nurses, Collegian, 24, (2) pp. 109-116. ISSN 1322-7696 (2017) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2015 Australian College of Nursing Ltd.

DOI: doi:10.1016/j.colegn.2015.10.003


The aim of this paper is to highlight the ways nurses understand and utilise the Australian National Competency Standards for Registered Nurses, which have been used for over two decades to determine both beginning level and ongoing competence to practise. This paper reports on a two-phase exploratory mixed methods study that examined what mechanisms influenced nursesí interpretation and application of these Standards in the context of assessment from a critical realist perspective.

The rationale for this paper is to highlight the importance of an urgent critical review of the Standards to determine; their relevance as an assessment framework capable of assessing both quantitative and qualitative nursing practices and the ambiguities in contemporary nursing practice and raise whether competency standards continue to be appropriate for the nursing profession.

The paper concludes by recommending that: (1) an urgent review of the Standards be undertaken, (2) the need for critical debate and research to identify the modes of teaching and learning activities that promote competence in terms of knowledge, understanding and skills that are consistently understood and applied by nurses, (3) given the lack of existing evidence regarding how nurses use the Standards and make decisions regarding another nurses or their own competence further research is recommended that focuses on the mechanisms that impact on assessment, and (4) effective mechanisms be established for gaining feedback from nurses regarding the assessment framework adopted.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:competency standards, quality and safety, mixed methods, critical realism and nursing education, nursing, assessment, competence, registered nurse
Research Division:Health Sciences
Research Group:Health services and systems
Research Field:Health services and systems not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Other health
Objective Field:Other health not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Terry, K (Dr Kathryn Terry)
UTAS Author:Stirling, C (Professor Christine Stirling)
UTAS Author:Bull, R (Professor Rosalind Bull)
UTAS Author:Fassett, D (Professor Denise Fassett)
ID Code:105234
Year Published:2017 (online first 2015)
Web of Science® Times Cited:2
Deposited By:Health Sciences
Deposited On:2015-12-15
Last Modified:2017-11-17

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