The perceptions and factors influencing the competency in newly qualified professional nurses working in private hospitals in the Western Cape, South Africa
Martin, Penelope D.
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In our constantly changing healthcare system and with large numbers of staff shortages in hospitals, newly qualified professional nurses (PNs) are expected to be competent and work unsupervised in leadership capacities soon after they have completed their nursing programmes. This study was aimed at determining the perceptions of newly qualified PNs competency as well as factors that influence competence. A quantitative approach using a descriptive survey design was employed, using 34 experienced PNs working in selected private hospitals in the Western Cape. Data were collected by means of a peer evaluation questionnaire, namely the Competency Inventory for Registered Nurses (CIRN). Data were analysed, using SPSS 19. The results of the 55-item CIRN indicate that newly qualified nurses were perceived as highly competent in clinical care, leadership, interpersonal relation, legal/ethical and professional development. Newly qualified nurses were perceived as low in competency in teaching/coaching and critical thinking/research aptitude. All of the factors identified using literature was perceived as having an influence on competence. Recommendations were made to the institutions to assist newly qualified nurses in competence development.