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Psychosexual Nursing. Rapid Adult Nursing. Rapid Infection Control Nursing. Rapid Mental Health Nursing. Oxford Handbooks :. Expert panels were used to review and validate data. Consensus was reached on the top 25 skills areas that can be reasonably expected of a new graduate Registered Nurse in Australia.
The top ranked skills areas included efficient and effective communication, professional nursing behaviours, privacy and dignity and managing medication administration.
The consensus methodologies used to develop the skills areas indicated broad agreement across the profession in Australia. The complexity and context of practice was highlighted in the comments within the Delphi rounds. Interestingly no new skills were added and none removed from the initial list — some were prioritised over others but the majority agreed that all the skills areas were important for a newly graduating nurse. The paper reports one aspect of a larger national study of competency assessment in nursing.
The overall aim of the larger project funded by the Australian Learning and Teaching Council ALTC was to develop a competency assessment tool for nursing eligibility to practice programmes in Australia. There were a wide range and number of skills taught in nursing curriculum and as a consequence it was clear that the skills covered with preregistration nursing students were not consistent across programmes Brown et al [ 1 ]; Crookes and Brown [ 2 ].
Since the introduction of national accreditation in course accreditation processes have been carried out by the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Accreditation Council ANMAC ; however there is no agreed consensus on the skill set that nursing students should possess or be developing during their programme of study. There is also no agreed consensus on the skill set required by industry that new graduate nurses should possess in Australia.
A literature search and review to locate research on skills for newly graduated RNs identified over papers, however much of this literature related to nurse practitioners or clinical nurse specialists or was in the form of discussion papers, literature reviews, government publications or textbooks. These articles were mainly descriptive studies, utilising surveys and Delphi methods, with descriptive approaches to analysis.
There is a paucity of recent robust evidence in the area; and where evidence does exist it is based largely on self-report by the new graduate registered nurse e. There is limited literature exploring perceptions of readiness, or competence; these are viewed from the perspective of the employer, for example the nurse manager Oermann et al [ 13 ], Ramitru and Barnard [ 14 ] ; experienced nurses; from the new graduate nurse Duchscher [ 15 ], Boxer and Kluge [ 12 ] ; or from patients Calman [ 16 ].
A number of factors contribute to these perceptions such as: the duration of Bachelor of Nursing BN programmes Candella and Bowles [ 18 ] ; amount of clinical practice during the programme fitness for practice, UKCC [ 19 ] ; academic outcome differences fitness for award , Aiken et al [ 20 ], Aiken et al [ 21 ], Smith and Crawford [ 4 ]. This is compounded by literature that, on the one hand attempts to identify all the individual skills that nurses perform Alavi et al [ 22 ], Boxer and Kluge [ 12 ], Boxer et al [ 23 ] and Lee et al [ 24 ] which is a rather reductionist strategy.
Whereas on the other hand, an approach that attempts to define nursing in such broad terms such as an area of practice; that it renders the findings somewhat meaningless or maybe intangible. Boxer and Kluge [ 12 ] clearly identify this work as focussing on neophyte practitioners in acute medical and surgical settings. The text content clusters the skills under 15 headings or Parts as termed by Tollefson a few examples are: Aseptic technique with 5 subset skills ; Assessment 8 ; Medication Administration 8 ; Mental Health Skills 2 ; Observations 6 ; Personal Hygiene and Maintaining Skin Integrity 5 ; and Wound Management 4.