• Australian National Competency Standards;
  • convergent validity;
  • new graduate nurses;
  • Nurse Competency Scale;
  • questionnaire;
  • Registered Nurses


Title. Competency measurements: testing convergent validity for two measures

Aim.  This paper is a report of a study to investigate whether the Australian National Competency Standards for Registered Nurses demonstrate correlations with the Finnish Nurse Competency Scale.

Background.  Competency assessment has become popular as a key regulatory requirement and performance indicator. The term competency, however, does not have a globally accepted definition and this has the potential to create controversy, ambiguity and confusion. Variations in meaning and definitions adopted in workplaces and educational settings will affect the interpretation of research findings and have implications for the nursing profession.

Method.  A non-experimental cross-sectional survey design was used with a convenience sample of 116 new graduate nurses in 2005. The second version of the Australian National Competency Standards and the Nurse Competency Scale was used to elicit responses to self-assessed competency in the transitional year (first year as a Registered Nurse).

Findings.  Correlational analysis of self-assessed levels of competence revealed a relationship between the Australian National Competency Standards (ANCI) and the Nurse Competency Scale (NCS). The correlational relation between ANCI domains and NCS factors suggests that these scales are indeed used to measure related dimensions. A statistically significant relationship (= 0·75) was found between the two competency measures.

Conclusion.  Although the finding of convergent validity is insufficient to establish construct validity for competency as used in both measures in this study, it is an important step towards this goal. Future studies on relationships between competencies must take into account the validity and reliability of the tools.