Competence is difficult to measure and define because it is a complex concept (FitzGerald et al., 2001). As many people wrongly think, competence is not simply the satisfactory performance of a set chores; competence is much wider than that. Australian Nursing and Midwifery Council (2011) defines competence more extensively as the putting of skills, knowledge ,attitudes, values and power to perform that base productive and or better accomplishment in a professional area.
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Competence is one of the five main constructs of caring behaviours. To be able to demonstrate caring attitude as a well-trained professional nurse, one must first be a competent practitioner of the nursing profession. For a nurse to be fully competent there is the need to have a sound knowledge based on my area of specialty in other to function independently with confidence.
Smith & Straham (2004) identifies that the ability to teach requires considerable amount of confidence in one’s professional career. A nurse who lacks confidence as a tutor is not probable to give up control of the ward or classroom to students.
High self-efficacy is also really needed from me as tutor. One most significant aspect about teaching is that it also helps you develop your knowledge. Feeling unsure and uncertain as a nurse is not a good quality, I need to gain confidence as well as I have gained experience. As a staff nurse teaching student nurses is an important part of my duty, student will always turn to me for assistance and guidance in clinical care. Normally student nurses find it easier to approach newly registered nurses to ask for support and counselling.
RELATING MY SKILL TO SECTION
With latest exclusion of stimulated experience, traditional methods to clinical education in nursing have not been changed substantially for years. In this olden model, faculty instructors give instructions and evaluate learning for a group of 8 to 10 students and work as clinical experts and supervisors for them. Patient assignments are always received in advance and clinical experiences are planned for by reviewing procedures, pathology, drugs and nursing interventions.
When teaching I interact with the student through the patient assigned to them but I lack confidence which is unprofessional. My priority though is my patient care first and the learning student a secondary concern. Their primary relationship normally is with faculty members. My duty also as a tutor in the ward is to work simultaneously with the students each day. Sometimes the presence of students in the ward can be seen as burdensome and interferes with my ability to provide patient care.
Raines (2006, Pp. 8) stressed that nurses make a huge difference in also helping students have clinical competence and skills. When student nurses are allocated to staff nurses they begin to appreciate the full range of professional nursing roles and responsibilities but in a case where the staff nurse assigned to a student nurse lacks confidence what would the student feel?
Clinical practice competence and skill competence both relies on role competence (O’Rourke, 2006).
COMPETENCE AND NMC (NURSING AND MIDWIFERY COUNCIL)
The National Council of State Board of Nursing (2005) defines competence as the power to act and apply Knowledge, interpersonal, directing and psychomotor skills to nursing practice role.Tiley (2008) noted that there is no definite and welcomed definition of competence in nursing education and practice. Notwithstanding competence is defined in unlike ways, there is a common goal: to guarantee nurses have the information, skills and power to perform duties expected and required for their practical settings. The word competence is acquired from Latin and it means having important qualities and abilities to function in a distinguishing ways.
Nagelsmith (1995) explains the basis of professional competence as a set of vital and appropriate knowledge, skills and attitudes. There are different essential features needed to achieve competence:
- Perseverance of Knowledge, skills and abilities needed for graduates of nursing education programs, based on principles and legal necessity;
- Pertinence to current practice;
- Registration and licensing examinations by board of nursing;
- Board of nursing persistent education requirements for licensing;
- Employer watching carefully of required staff development modules, finishing of courses, demonstrations and examinations;
- Guidelines and accreditation for nursing practice.
In addition, competences are required in practice as a profession because it is needed to always exercise ones professional responsibility and practice. Nursing and Midwifery council (NMC) included competence as a constituent in professional practice because as a professional you must keep your skills and knowledge current throughout your working life. Specifically you should take part as a matter of usual practice in learning activities that grows your competence and accomplishment. To practice capably in learning activities that develops your competence and performance.
To practice capably one must have the knowledge, skills and abilities needed for lawful, safe and productive practice without direct supervision. One must recognise the extent of his or her professional competence and only attempt practice and accept responsibilities. It was also stated that if an area of practice is beyond ones level of competence or outside your area of specialization, you must get help and supervision. One also has a responsibility to assist the progress of students of nursing, midwifery and health visiting and others to cultivate their competence. Having accountability to deliver care based on current proof, best practice and where appropriate, validated research when available.
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RATIONALE WHY I NEED TO DEVELOP COMPETENCE IN THE CHOSEN AREAS
Safe nursing practice in my chosen area, mental health at this level is typified by the use of nursing process to treat people with truly existing or potential mental health problems or psychiatric disorders to: advance and promote health and safety I should be able to evaluate dysfunction: help persons to get back or improve their coping abilities, increase strengths and stop further disability. In contributing to safe practice to the people in the society i have to develop my competence in a wide sphere of interventions ,including health promotion and health maintained plan of action, intake screening and assessment and triage, case management, milieu therapy, promotion of self care actions, psychobiologic interventions, health teaching, giving advice, critical situations care and psychiatric restoration.
The nurse maintains accountability for maintaining competence in this area of mental health nursing practice through life long learning. Competence is an essential component in my professional responsibilities. Professional responsibilities also need me to recognise limitations and put myself in settings and duties that allows me to function safely. Minimum vital competence for safe practice is also essential for me they include essential features such as basic principles of nursing, critical thinking, interpersonal relations and areas of ethics.
There is a lot of risk involved working as a mental health nurse; preventing suicide depends on the nurse’s ability to know about a person’s suicidal risk status. In most cases mental health nurses are the most competent to attempt a full risk assessment of a suicidal patient. The general health professional is frequently placed in place of activity where potential patient suicide risk is sure through direct account from the patient, noting of behaviour or from patient history examination. In this clinical place of activity, the general nurse or allied health professional responsibility is to carry out a brief risk assessment and then refer to the suitable mental health professional for an inclusive psychiatric assessment (Department of Health, 2004).
SELF ASSESSING AND MAINTAINING COMPETENCE IN THE CHOSEN SKILL
In the field of nursing competence is required for nurses to make safe clinical decisions. Other methods for evaluating competence include self-assessment and the development of professional portfolios. The usefulness of self-assessment has helped me to maintain and improve competence in the aspect of teaching student nurses who wants to learn more in the area of mental health nursing. My individual competence has improved as I become more experience and the knowledgeable.
In complying with my duties as a mental health nurse in supporting other skills development i will participate in team meetings where equal opportunities are given to share knowledge and ideas with colleagues. I will also engage in a teaching programme either as an instructor or a study under a preceptor. In addition improve my clinical practice by with self or others.
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