Nurse competence between three generational nurse cohorts: A cross-sectional study

Authors

  • Riitta Meretoja PhD RN,

    Development Manager, Adjunct Professor, Corresponding author
    1. Corporate Headquarters, Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa, Helsinki, Finland
    2. University of Turku, Turku, Finland
    • Correspondence: Riitta Meretoja, Corporate Headquarters, Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa, BOX 100, FI-00029 Helsinki, Finland. Email: riitta.meretoja@hus.fi

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  • Olivia Numminen PhD RN,

    Clinical Researcher
    1. Corporate Headquarters, Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa, Helsinki, Finland
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  • Hannu Isoaho MSc,

    Statistician
    1. Statcon Ltd, Salo, Finland
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  • Helena Leino-Kilpi PhD RN

    Professor and Chair, Nurse Director
    1. Department of Nursing Science, University of Turku, Turku, Finland
    2. Hospital District of Southwest Finland, Turku, Finland
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Abstract

Research indicates significant differences between nurse cohorts in many work-related factors. This study compared nurse competence between three generational cohorts comprising the current nursing workforce. The Nurse Competence Scale was used to collect data for this cross-sectional study from 2052 nurses in a university hospital in Finland. Data were analysed statistically. Significant differences were found between nurse cohorts in their competence. The length of work experience had a significant impact on the development of competence. The oldest cohort, with the longest work experience, had the highest competence scores (70.1 on a visual analogue scale), and the youngest had the lowest (59.0). All cohorts were most competent in patient-related nursing tasks, in maintenance of professional competence and in ethical care. Nurses were weakest in the development of nursing practice and the use of evidence-based knowledge. Targeted interventions in teaching–coaching for different nurse generations are needed to ensure the maintenance of nurse competence and high-quality patient care.

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