The competency of nurses has always been the top concern of the profession. Patients who require the care and supervision of nurses expect a certain competency in the nurses who attend to them.

Though a bigger range of factors is needed to determine the competency of a nurse, it is the nurse’s responsibility to ensure and maintain their clinical competency. Below are 4 key ways for nurses to continue enhancing their clinical competency and strive towards providing a higher standard of care.

1. Commit to lifelong learning

The nursing field is a lifelong learning career which urges for every nurse to demonstrate commitment to enhancing their competence, and that their competencies are relevant to the current nursing practices. As such, nurses associations worldwide postulate that continuing formal education is essential for the nurse to maintain their clinical competency. In a 2011 report, the Institute of Medicine recommended that by 2020, 80% of the nurses in practice should have a bachelor of science degree in nursing, highlighting the significance of formal education in the clinical competency of nurses.

2. Attend conferences and seminars

Nurses should also take the opportunity to attend nursing conferences whenever the chance or opportunity rolls by. Though the main focus and the topics covered in conferences may vary depending on the organisers, the primary objectives of such platforms are to discover advances in nursing care, management and education about health disparities.

Hence, the conference allows nurses to have the opportunity to meet inspiring speakers, experts and professionals from different nursing specialities and background. The nurse can further network with other nurses and healthcare professionals attending the conference, allowing them to exchange ideas and stay updated on the latest innovations in nursing care and education.

3. Get certification in specialisation

Getting a valid certificate for their specialisation is one way to enhance the nurse’s clinical competency. Certification often comes with specialised exams that incorporate the latest standards in nursing practices, thereby empowering nurses to become skilful and up-to-date in that specific area.

Patients will have more trust in the skills and abilities of a nurse who is certified in their specialisation. Employers will also be more persuaded to hire a nurse with a valid certificate in the areas of specialisation that they are looking for, validating the nurse’s knowledge and demonstrating their initiative in taking charge of their education.

4. The role of employers and the government

While it is the responsibility of nurses to put in the effort and enhance their clinical competency, the support from their employers and the government can go a long way to encourage and help them maintain their level of competency.

Employers are responsible for putting in place the mechanism that can help to promote the nurse’s credentials of the knowledge, skills and personal attributes they require in the nursing field. Additionally, employers should maintain a quality environment that supports nurses to continue enhancing their competencies and taking part in those programmes that help them to further their level of competency.

Similarly, the government also plays a part in encouraging nurse to continue enhancing their clinical competency. They are responsible for organising and retaining nursing programmes to support nurses in continuing to enhance their clinical competencies, which will facilitate collaboration among Registered Nurses, educational institutions and the ministries of health and education.

Maintaining clinical competency in nursing practice is undeniably part of the nurse’s responsibility. Regardless of which position or stage of career they are in, a nurse should actively stay updated with the developments in their field and grasp opportunities for them to develop these relevant competencies. MIMS

Read more:
Nurses: Developing and enhancing professionalism
Great sources of Continuing Education Units for nurses
Nurses: 4 reasons why you should attend healthcare conferences