Indexed on: 02 Aug '17Published on: 02 Aug '17Published in: Journal of Emergency Nursing
Emergency nurses play an important role in the care of critically ill and injured patients, and their competency to perform clinical skills is vital to safe and effective patient care. The aim of this study was to evaluate the frequency of clinical skills performed and perceived competency levels among Iranian emergency nurses. In addition, attitudes toward expanding the professional roles of Iranian emergency nurses were also assessed.In this descriptive correlational study, 319 emergency nurses from 30 hospitals in northwest Iran participated. Data were collected using a self-report questionnaire. Descriptive statistics and Pearson's correlation coefficient were used to present the findings.Overall competency of the emergency nurses was 73.31 ± 14.2, indicating a good level of perceived competence. The clinical skills most frequently performed were in the domains of organizational and workload competencies (3.43 ± 0.76), diagnostic function (3.25 ± 0.82), and the helping role (3.17 ± 0.83). A higher level of perceived competence was found for skills within these domains. Less frequently, participants performed skills within the domains of effective management of rapidly changing situations (2.70 ± 0.94) and administering and monitoring therapeutic interventions (2.60 ± 0.97); a lower perceived level of competence was noted for these clinical skills. There was a significant correlation between frequency of performing clinical skills and perceived competency level (r = 0.651, P < .001). Participants had positive attitudes toward expanding their professional roles (2.13 ± 0.92), with 81.5% agreeing it would improve their job satisfaction.Higher perceived competency levels were significantly associated with more frequent performance of clinical skills. This has implications for nurse managers and educators who may consider offering more frequent experiential and educational opportunities to emergency nurses. Expansion of nurses' roles could also result in increased experience in clinical skills and higher levels of competency. Research is needed to investigate nurses' clinical competence using direct and observed measures.