Competency-Based Education Models

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Competency-Based Education Models

Competency-Based Education Models

Select activities that support competency-based education in a given nursing situation

The objectives for a competency-based orientation are to provide a comprehensive orientation plan for a particular specialty, and to offer a program that optimizes, yet streamlines, documentation of the orienteer's progress. Ferraro draws upon del Bueno's five characteristics of a competency-based orientation to advocate for the provision of nursing care, criterion-referenced competency statements, flexible acquisition of learning, the absence of a fixed sequence of learning, and a consideration of values for each outcome.

An increase in nursing responsibilities, more complex technology, and an increase in the volume of patients with higher acuity of illness are the reasons why Biancuzzo (1994) cites orientees need an increasing amount of content taught in a fixed period of time. She also notes that inadequate staffing and financial constraints prohibit a leisurely orientation. Within a competency-based structure, orientation prepares new nurses to deliver care independently as soon as possible. Biancuzzo describes the implementation process utilized in changing to a competency-based orientation that is managed by staff nurse preceptors. She claims these implementation strategies result in improved patient outcomes and a more effective and effective orientation program.

A set of competency statements with supporting objectives for a given content area in nursing

A competency-based orientation meets both the needs of orientees with no prior experience and those with prior experience. Ferraro reviews the steps in developing a comprehensive orientation program designed to meet the needs of a multi-disciplinary pediatric team. These steps include beginning with a literature review and choosing an organizing framework. Implementation includes identifying resources, developing learning tools, and preparing preceptors. She notes that patient acuity always has an impact on the implementation process. The complexity of patient illness requires that the preceptor and orientee demonstrate flexibility and creativity in meeting the orientee's learning needs during the process of orientation. These are not new qualities and are evident in the overall work of the critical-care nurse.

Staab et al. (1996) describe a competency-based orientation program as a structured, comprehensive approach to the process of orientation. They link orientation to four basic principles of adult learning: adults have developmental needs, adults emphasize outcomes, adults are capable of self-direction, and adult learning needs are variable. Staab et al. describe how an implementation group examined the implementation process and identified the problems encountered in changing from a traditional orientation to a competency-based orientation for nurses in a hospital setting. These changes resulted in a more effective process for orientation.

Critiquing Competency-Based Education for Nurses

Drawing on the discussions in the nursing literature concerning competency-based education, I highlight both the benefits and critiques of using this approach for the orientation of nurses in a hospital setting.

Benefits as a Method

When competency expectations are based on high quality standards, than quality in practice is promoted. Merriam (1991)agrees, and states that the identification and achievement of established performance outcomes—when defined by the Learner, educator, manager, and peers--allow expectations for behaviour to be agreed upon ...
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