Comparison of head nurses and practicing nurses in nurse competence assessment

Masoud Bahreini, Marzieh Moattari, Fazlolah Ahmadi, Mohammad Hosein Kaveh, Parichehr Hayatdavoudy, Mostafa Mirzaei


  • BACKGROUND: Nurses play a crucial role in patient-care. Therefore, assessing nurses’ clinical competence is essential to achieve qualified and safe care. The aim of this study was to determine and compare the competence assessments made by head nurses and practicing nurses in a university hospital in Iran in 2009.
  • METHODS: A cross-sectional survey was conducted to make comparisons of both self-assessment of nurse competence as well as assessment made by their respective head nurses working in a university hospital setting in Iran. The instrument employed for data collection was Nurse Competence Scale (NCS), whose reliability and validity have been previously confirmed. The clinical competence of the nurses in 73 skills under 7 categories was determined based on a Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) (0 to 100). They were also asked to indicate the extent to which their competence was actually used in clinical practice on a four-point scale of Likert. The data was analyzed through descriptive and inferential statistics.
  • RESULTS: Comparison of self-assessment (87.03 ± 10.03) and the assessment done by head nurses (80.15 ± 15.54) showed a significant difference but no precise differences were found between the assessment methods for the frequency of using these competencies.
  • CONCLUSIONS: The results of this study indicated no consensus between the nurses owns assessment and their head nurse assessment. Therefore, it is necessary to use a combination of nurses’ competence assessment methods in order to reach a more valid and precise conclusion.
  • KEY WORDS: Clinical competence, competence assessment, head nurse, nurse, self-assessment.

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