Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing

Nurse Competency Information Links

Competence Development in Nursing Students and Newly Graduated Nurses

There has been little consensus within the nursing profession about what defines competence (Bradshaw & Merriman, 2008; Cowan, Norman & Coopamah, 2005). The objective of this project was to gain insight into the formal and informal definitions of competence that are used within the nursing literature, specifically as it relates to nursing students and newly graduated nurses.

CINAHL, MEDLINE, PsycInfo, ERIC and SCOPUS were searched to find relevant research articles published in English between 2005 and 2013.

The definition of clinical competence was most often implicit and multi-factorial. Within this database, the references are listed in categories that reflect preparedness (readiness to practice, nursing student or new graduates’ confidence or self-efficacy), independence (ability to manage a patient care assignment or prioritize patient care), and skill (clinical or psychomotor, apply knowledge to practice). Occasionally, competence was defined using national competency standards, and these articles are noted as well. Articles can also be searched based on research design, setting, or location.

Contact: Jessica Peterson, RN, PhD, Assistant Professor, Loyola University New Orleans

Funding: Canadian Institutes of Health Research Knowledge Synthesis Grant

CitationDefinition of CompetenceKeywordsLink
Andrew, S., Gregory, L., Cowin, L. S., Eager, S. C., Hengstberger-Sims, C., & Rolley, J. (2008). Psychometric properties of the Australian nurse competency 2000 standards. International Journal of Nursing Studies, 45, 1512-1515.National competency standardAustralia; Acute care; Survey; Self-report
Bisholt, B. K. M. (2012). The professional socialization of recently graduated nurses- Experiences of an introduction program. Nurse Eduction Today, 32, 278-282.IndependenceEurope; Acute Care; Qualitative; Self-report
Björkström, M. E., Athlin, E. E., & Johansson, I. S. (2008). Nurses' development of professional self -from being a nursing student in a baccalaureate programme to an experienced nurse. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 17 , 1380-1391. IndependenceEurope; Survey; Self-report
Bradshaw, C., O'Connor, M., Egan, G., Tierney, K., Butler, M. P., Fahy, A., …McNamara, M. C. (2012). Nursing students' views of clinical competence assessment. British Journal of Nursing, 21 (15), 923-927.National competency standardEurope; Mixed Method; Self-report; COPA
Candela, L. & Bowles, C. (2008). Recent RN graduate perceptions of educational preparation. Nursing Education Perspectives, 29 (5), 266-271.PreparednessNorth America; Survey; Self-report
Casey, K., Fink, R., Jaynes, C., Campbell, L., Cook, P., & Wilson, V. (2011). Readiness for practice: The senior practicum experience. Journal of Nursing Education, 50 (11), 646-652.Preparedness; IndependenceNorth America; Mixed Method; Self-report
Cassidy, I., Butler, M. P., Quillinan, B., Egan, G., McNamara, M. C. Tuohy, D….Tierney, C. (2012). Preceptors' views of assessing nursing students using a competency based approach. Nurse Education in Practice, 12, 346-351.Independence; SkillEurope, Mixed Method; Observation
Chappy, S., Jambunathan, J., & Marnocha, S. (2010). Evidence-based curricular strategies to enhance BSN graduates' transition into practice. Nurse Educator, 35 (1), 20-24. PreparednessNorth America; Survey; Self-report
Chernomas, W. M., Care, W. D., McKenzie, J. L., Guse, L., & Currie, J. (2010). "Hit the ground running": Perspectives of new nurses and nurse managers on role transition and integration of new graduates. Nursing Leadership, 22 (4), 70-86. PreparednessNorth America; Qualitative; Observation; Self-report; Social cognitive theory
Clark, T. & Holmes, S. (2007). Fit for practice? An exploration of the development of newly qualified nurses using focus groups. International Journal of Nursing Studies, 44, 1210-1220. Preparedness; IndependenceEurope; Qualitative; Observation; Self-report
Greenburger, H., Reches, H., & Riba, S. (2005). Do new graduates of registered nursing programs in Israel perceive themselves as technically competent? The Journal of Continuing Education in Nursing, 36 (3), 133-140.SkillMiddle East; Survey; Self-report
Håård, U. S., Öhlén, J., & Gustavvson, P. (2008). Generic and professional outcomes of a general nursing education program - a national study of higher education. International Journal of Nursing Education Scholarship, 5 (1), art. 32.SkillEurope; Survey; Self-report
Hatlevik, I. K. R. (2012). The theory-practice relationship: reflective skills and theoretical knowledge as key factors in bridging the gap between theory and practice in initial nursing education. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 68 (4), 868-877.SkillEurope; Survey; Self-report
Hickey, M. T. (2010). Baccalaureate nursing graduates' perceptions of their clinical instructional experiences and preparation for practice. Journal of Professional Nursing, 26 (1), 35-41.PreparednessNorth America; Mixed Method; Self-report
Ivarsson, B. & Nilsson, G. (2009). The subject of pedagogy from theory to practice - the view of newly registered nurses. Nurse Education Today, 29, 510-515.SkillEurope; Qualitative; Self-report
Jackson, K. (2005). The roles and responsibilities of newly qualified children's nurses. Paediatric Nursing, 17 (6), 26-30.Preparedness; Independence; SkillEurope; Pediatrics; Qualitative; Self-report
Joseph, S. & Juwah, C. (2012). Using constructive alignment theory to develop nursing skills curricula. Nurse Education in Practice, 12, 52-59.Preparedness; SkillEurope; Mixed Methods; Self-report; Observation; Constructive Alignment Theory
Lauder, W., Watson, R., Topping, K., Holland, K., Johnson, M., Porter, M., … & Behr, A. (2008). An evaluation of fitness for practice curricula: self-efficacy, support and self-reported competence in preregistration student nurses and midwives. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 17, 1858-1867.SkillEurope; Survey; Self-report
McCoy, M. A., Levett-Jones, T., & Pitt, V. (2013). Development and psychometric testing of the Ascent to Competence Scale. Nurse Education Today, 33, 15-23.SkillAustralia; Methodoloical; Self-report; Ascent to Competence framework
McKenna, L.; & Newton, J. (2008). After the graduate year: A phenomenological exploration of how new nurses develop their knowledge and skill over the first 18 months following graduation. Australian Journal of Advanced Nursing, 25 (4),Preparedness; IndependenceAustralia; Acute care; Qualitative; Self-report
Meechan, R., Jones, H., & Valler-Jones, T. (2011). Students' perspectives on their skills acquisition and confidence. British Journal of Nursing, 20 (7), 445-450.Preparedness; Skill; National competency standardEurope; Program Evaluation; Self-report; Observation
Molleman, E. & van der Vegt, G. S. (2007). The performance evaluation of novices: The importance of competence in specific work activity clusters. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 80, 459-478.SkillEurope; Acute care; Longitudinal; Self-report
Mooney, M. (2007). Newly qualified Irish nurses' interpretation of their preparation and experiences of registration. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 16, 1610-1617.Preparedness; Independence; SkillEurope; Acute care; Qualitative; Self-report
Myers, S., Reidy, P., French, B., McHale, J., Chisolm, M., & Griffin, M. (2010). Safety concerns of hospital-based new-to-practice registered nurses and their preceptors. Journal of Continuing Education in Nursing, 41 (4), 163-171.Preparedness; Independence; SkillNorth America; Qualitative; Self-report; Observation
Newton, J. & McKenna, L. (2007). The transitional journey through the graduate year: A focus group study. International Journal of Nursing Studies, 44, 1231-1237.Preparedness; SkillAustralia; Acute care; Qualitative; Longitudinal; Self-report
Oermann, M., Poole-Dawkins, K., Alverez, M. T., Foster, B. B., & O'Sullivan, R. (2010). Managers' perspectives of new graduates of accelerated nursing programs: How do they compare with other graduates? Journal of Continuing Education in Nursing, 41 (9), 394-400.Preparedness; SkillNorth America; Acute Care; Qualitative; Observation
O'Shea, M. & Kelly, B. (2007). The lived experiences of newly qualified nurses on clinical placement during the first six months following registration in the Republic of Ireland. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 16, 1534-1542.Preparedness; SkillEurope; Acute Care; Qualitative; Self-report
Pinchera, B. J. (2012). Newly licensed nurses: A look at their first 18 months. Nursing, 42 (5), 18-22. PreparednessNorth America; Acute Care; Qualitative; Self-report
Reiter, M. A., Young, A., & Adamson, C. (2007). Decrease new graduate nurse orientation costs by using HESI Exit Exam scores. JONA, 37 (10), 459-463.SkillNorth America; Acute Care; Correlational; Self-report; Observation
Rischel, V., Larsen, K., & Jackson, K. (2008). Embodied dispositions or experience? Identifying new patterns of professional competence. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 61 (5), 512-521.SkillEurope; Acute Care; Observation; Novice to Expert
Roberts, K., Lockhart, R., & Sportsman, S. (2009). A competency transcript to assess and personalize new graduate competency. JONA, 39 (1), 19-25.SkillNorth America; Acute Care; Observation; Novice to Expert

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