Practice Expectation Spotlight

The Practice Expectations for RNs state that we must take part in the development of our continuing competence to maintain and enhance our nursing knowledge, skill and judgment so our practice is both safe and relevant to our clients’ health-care needs. Continuing competence is a multi-dimensional and complex concept requiring individual, team and systems level inputs to achieve competent care. Throughout our career, we demonstrate our commitment to developing continuing competence in many ways:  

  • identifying opportunities to improve competence as an individual and/or team;  
  • completing learning required of us to meet client need in our practice setting; 
  • completing informal learning to ensure safe, appropriate care (i.e. looking up medication effects, contraindications and side effects; learning new policies, procedures and the supporting evidence);    
  • completing the annual Continuing Competency Program.  

Consider the following case example: 

Ryanne Brunt RN recently accepted a new job on a medicine unit after being on a leave of absence for 6 months. While on leave, Ryanne used her Continuing Competency Program (CCP) forms to reflect on her ability to practice in the new practice area, created learning goals and tracked the completion of learning activities to support her readiness and enhance her knowledge.  

Upon return to work, Ryanne realizes that she is not familiar with some of the medications used on the unit so she ensures that she takes time to review the medications’ information prior to administering them. She also identifies that she does not have the education needed to perform Negative Pressure Wound Therapy as per employer policy, so she communicates this to her manager and plans to attend the next available education opportunity. 

Over the next couple of weeks, Ryanne continues to communicate her learning needs to the team while clarifying her role and gaining an understanding of the roles of the other members of the team. She works proactively to ensure there is no disruption to care while she gains the necessary knowledge, skill and judgement to provide safe, competent and relevant team- based care on the unit. 

The multi-dimensional and complex nature of continuing competence is evident in this case example. In order to ensure safe, competent care Ryanne: 

  • Completed a self- assessment and self- directed learning through the College provided Continuing Competency Program. 
  • Completed informal learning on the unit to ensure she has the medication knowledge needed to safely administer medications she is not familiar with. 
  • Followed employer policy and plans to complete employer directed education prior to performing certain procedures. 
  • Communicates with the team to ensure she understands her role, the role of the other team members and to ensure care is not interrupted while she develops competence on the unit. 

Want to learn more about continuing competence and the Continuing Competency Program? Click here to view our tutorial. 

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