Perceptions of professional nurses regarding clinical competence of community service practitioners from degree and diploma programmes offered in the Western Cape
Daniels, Felicity M.
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In compliance to the national requirements of producing competent learners, the South African Nursing Council requires community service practitioners to have the necessary knowledge, skills, attitudes and values which will enable them to render efficient professional service. The purpose of the study was to compare the perceptions of professional nurses about the clinical competence of community service practitioners (CSPs) who graduated from a nursing degree programme and those who completed a nursing diploma programme in the Western Cape. A quantitative, descriptive, cross-sectional design was adopted to make comparisons of how professional nurses’ rated the clinical competence of the CSPs. Five regional hospitals were purposively selected based on them being designated health establishments for community service. Non-probability convenient sampling was employed to select a total of 52 professional nurses who were directly involved in the supervision of CSPs who graduated from degree and diploma programmes. A self-administered questionnaire was used to collect the data, which were analyzed using SPSS version 21. Bivariate analysis was done using contingency tables to compare the associations of clinical competence between the two groups of CSPs as rated by the professional nurses who supervised them. A confidence level of 95% with a 5% level of significance was set, and a p-value of less than 0.05 was interpreted as significant. The results show that professional nurses perceived the CSPs who had completed a diploma nursing programme to be more competent than the nurses with degrees. It is recommended that a longitudinal study be conducted tp see if the rating for clinincal competence between the two groups and the professional nurses’ ratings of the two groups change at all. In conclusion this study suggests that there is no significant difference in clnical competence related to knowledge and skills between the two gropuips of CSPs.