To present the qualitative findings from a study on the development of scheme(s) to provide evidence of maintenance of professional competence for nurses and midwives.
Key issues in maintenance of professional competence include notions of self- assessment, verification of engagement and practice hours, provision of an evidential record, the role of the employer and articulation of possible consequences for non-adherence with the requirements. Schemes to demonstrate the maintenance of professional competence have application to nurses, midwives and regulatory bodies and healthcare employers worldwide.
A mixed methods approach was used. This included an online survey of nurses and midwives and focus groups with nurses and midwives and other key stakeholders. The qualitative data are reported in this paper.
Focus groups were conducted among a purposive sample of nurses, midwives and key stakeholders from January - May 2015. A total of thirteen focus groups with 91 participants contributed to the study.
Four major themes were identified: Definitions and Characteristics of Competence; Continuing Professional Development and Demonstrating Competence; Assessment of Competence; The Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland and employers as regulators and enablers of maintaining professional competence.
Competence incorporates knowledge, skills, attitudes, professionalism, application of evidence and translating learning into practice. It is specific to the nurse's/ midwife's role, organisational needs, patient's needs and the individual nurse's/midwife's learning needs. Competencies develop over time and change as nurses and midwives work in different practice areas. Thus role specific competence is linked to recent engagement in practice. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.