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J Contin Educ Nurs. 2013 Jan;44(1):31-7.

Competency assessment tools for registered nurses: an integrative review.

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St. Paul's Hospital, SaskatoonHealth Region, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada.



The clinical nurse educator in practice settings assists registered nurses through education and works with nurse managers to evaluate the continuing competency of registered nurses. The availability of self reporting tools with acceptable psychometric properties may contribute to an understanding of staff expertise and continued competence to perform their required duties.


An integrative review of the literature was conducted using keyword searches in CINAHL, ERIC, and PsyciNFO. The search for tools published in the past decade focused on self-assessment of continuing competence in practicing nurses.


Four research reports were found with multidimensional self-reporting tools designed for use with nurses in ongoing practice. Each tool specifies a unique set of dimensions of continuing competency (e.g., clinical care, leadership, interpersonal relationships) and has had its validity or reliability tested with practicing nurses.


The results of the review showed an improvement in the development and availability of tools.However, the tools are still lacking in dimension and further investment in this area of research is needed.

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