What Clinical Competencies Are Essential for New Nurses?

  • Post:Admin
  • 2nd September 2023
  • Post:Admin
  • Sep 2, 2023

The education-practice gap is still a leading issue in nursing. A five-year study of 5,000 newly graduated nursing students showed that only 23% could demonstrate entry-level competency and basic readiness to care for patients. Through COVID, that number decreased to 9%. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing concluded that nursing education needs new thinking and approaches to prepare students to be work-ready by graduation. Without this preparation, new nurses can experience high stress and commit practice errors, affecting patient health outcomes. Around 25% of new nurses quit during their first year on the job, which significantly affects patient care access and quality, and increases the burden for the nurses who remain behind.

The first step toward practice readiness is determining what nurses must know and do clinically. By collaborating with hospitals and clinics, we can gather the diagnoses, surgeries, medications, labs, procedures, and nursing skills for each nurse specialty and practice setting. This collaboration will allow organizations to create innovative nursing residencies and curricula based on actual clinical data and update them regularly with the latest health care changes.

With a clear focus on what nurses need to know and do, organizations can implement competency-based education that reflects real-life nursing and assesses relevant competencies to ensure graduates are ready to care for patients. As a result of these changes, we expect nurse retention and patient care to significantly improve as new, well-trained nurses reinforce health care’s frontlines.

We can provide nursing students and new nurses with the preparation they need to become practice-ready. They need our help, and sooner or later, we will need theirs.

To My Fellow Nurse Innovators:

My advice to other nurse innovators is to realize your worth. You have invested your career in caring for others. Nurses are experts in what works well in health care because we spend more time with patients than probably any other discipline. Utilize that experience, intuition, and insight to address the gaps we encounter as we care for our patients. If you can think of your innovative idea like your patient, there is a high likelihood that you will figure out what you need to do to bring your vision to a healthy reality. That’s just what nurses do.