Professional nurses' perceptions of newly qualified professional nurses competency and factors influencing competency
In our constantly changing healthcare system and with large numbers of staff shortages in hospitals, newly qualified professional nurses are expected to be competent and work unsupervised in leadership capacities soon after they have completed their nursing programs. The study was aimed at determining the perceptions of professional nurses of newly qualified professional nurses' competency as well as factors that influence competency. A quantitative approach using a descriptive survey design was employed, using 34 experienced professional nurses working in selected private hospitals in the Western Cape. Data was collected by means of a peer evaluation questionnaire, namely the Competency Inventory for Registered nurses. Data was analyzed, using IBM SPSS 19 with the assistance of a statistician. The results of the 55-item Competency Inventory for Registered Nurses 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, critical thinking and research aptitude. All the factors identified using literature, were perceived as having an influence on competency. Recommendations were made to the institutions to assist newly qualified nurses in competence development.