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New Zealand nurses' perceptions of the continuing competence framework

Authors

  • R. Vernon RN, BN, MPhil(Distinction)(Nursing), MCNA(NZ), Fulbright Alumnae,

    PhD Candidate, University of Sydney, Head of School Nursing, Corresponding author
    • Faculty of Health Sciences, Eastern Institute of Technology, Napier, Hawke's Bay, New Zealand
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  • M. Chiarella RN, RM, PhD, LLB(UNSW), DipNEd(Dist), FCN, FRCNA,

    Principal PhD Supervisor, Professor of Nursing
    1. Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia
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  • E. Papps RN, BA, MEd(Distinction), PhD,

    PhD Co-supervisor
    1. Faculty of Health Sciences, Eastern Institute of Technology, Napier, Hawke's Bay, New Zealand
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  • D. Dignam RN, BA, PhD

    PhD Co-supervisor, Professor
    1. Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Technology, Sydney, NSW, Australia
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  • Conflict of Interest: The authors report no conflict of interest. The original research was undertaken as a component of Rachael Vernon's PhD study, and a portion was contracted by the Nursing Council of New Zealand. A full report related to the Nursing Council of New Zealand work was authored by RV, MC, EP and DD in 2010 and published by the Nursing Council of New Zealand in October 2010. As some of the findings of the original research have been incorporated into this manuscript, it was submitted to and approved by the Chief Executive of the Nursing Council of New Zealand (Carolyn Reed) prior to it being submitted to INR for publication.

Correspondence address: Mrs Rachael Vernon, Faculty of Health Sciences, Eastern Institute of Technology, Private Bag 1201, Napier 4142, Hawke's Bay, New Zealand; Tel: +64 6974 8000 ext. 5037 or +64 21 2378053; Fax: +64 6 9748976; E-mail: rvernon@eit.ac.nz.

Abstract

Background

The demonstration of competence and continuing competence for nurses is becoming increasingly important internationally, and many countries have developed continuing competence frameworks.

Aim

To explore nurses' perceptions and understanding of and satisfaction with the Nursing Council of New Zealand (NCNZ) Continuing Competence Framework (CCF) and the effectiveness of associated processes.

Method

A total of 1157 New Zealand (NZ) nurses responded to a web-based survey designed to determine their satisfaction with the NCNZ CCF. The sample was representative of the NZ nursing population with a margin of error of 2.85 and 95% confidence level.

Findings

The majority of participants believe that the CCF provides a mechanism to ensure nurses are competent and fit to practice. While some participants indicated an element of poor understanding with regard to aspects of the CCF, overall it is perceived as a credible and reliable process to ensure public safety.

Conclusions

The international literature describes a variety of frameworks and competence indicators used by regulatory authorities to safeguard the public. In the 5 years since the NCNZ implemented the CCF less than 0.02% of notifications related to ‘competence’ have been recorded. The majority of NZ nurses believe that the CCF provides a mechanism to ensure nurses are competent and fit to practice. However, it is important to note that CCF processes may infer competence but they are not a guarantee that a nurse is safe to practice on any given day.

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