Re-Inventing the Wheel: Consensus, Continuing Competence and Public Safety

Thursday, 25 July 2013: 9:10 AM

Rachael A. Vernon, RN, BN, MPhil (Distinction)
School of Nursing, Eastern Institute of Technology, Napier, New Zealand

Learning Objective 1: To reflect on and understand the role of the regulatory authorities with regard to the "protection of the public" and "continuing competence of nurses".

Learning Objective 2: To learn about the consensus view of international regulatory experts and professional nurses leaders with regard to the assessment and demonstration of continuing competence.

Purpose:  Nursing regulatory authorities agree that monitoring the continuing competence of the profession is necessary to protect the public. International research completed during 2011-2012 indicated that definitions of continuing competence across six countries Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States of America have strong similarities. This presentation will present and discuss the consensus view of these international regulatory experts with regard to the assessment and demonstration of continuing competence. Recommendations will be made to align the consensus framework with existing conditions and for possible legislative and/or or policy change. The purpose of this research was to develop an international consensus model for the demonstration and assessment of continuing competence.  Whilst a range of international experts participated in this research there was a particular focus on the regulatory authorities in the following six countries; Australia, Canada, Ireland, United Kingdom, United States of America and New Zealand.

Methods:   The research was undertaken using the Delphi Technique.  Delphi rounds were administered until consensus was determined.  Four rounds were administered commencing with key stakeholder interviews with fourteen regulatory experts drawn from the six focus countries.  The findings of round one formed the basis of the development of the subsequent Delphi rounds that were administered via electronic surveys.  A participant group of 51 international experts experienced in the development, implementation or assessment of continuing competence frameworks was recruited. 

Results:   There is general consensus with regard to the purpose, definition, and indicators of continuing competence however inconsistency exists over the level to which continuing competence should be demonstrated, the criteria against which continuing competence should be assessed and the relationship continuing competence has to public safety.

Conclusion: In addition the permissiveness of legislative, political and fiscal priorities have a significant impact on the implementation of appropriate frameworks.