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Competence for Nurses: Why Is It Important?


Nursing competence is the skill set that is required to provide quality patient care. This concept includes direct skills of care providing and the ability to build trust with patients, their families, and other health care professionals. At the same time, the level of competence and requirements for a nurse increase depending on the position, since leading professionals must have a high level of knowledge to make decisions. This paper will look at several personal situations related to competency to highlight its importance to a nurse.

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The situation in which nursing competence was manifested is a discussion of the patient’s weight loss and the search for her treatment options. Maria is a 71-year-old patient who was observed with poor PO and increased FSBG during her hospital stay, which was associated with refusing to eat hospital food due to its poor taste. Maria takes psych, insulin, and anti-hypertensive medication, which could also contribute to her weight loss. However, since poor appetite can be a sign of other diseases, and poor nutrition can cause their development, I decided to discuss Maria’s treatment with other specialists. This approach is a manifestation of such competence skills as the ability to collaborate with other professionals, provide quality care, and offer patient-centered treatment (Fukada, 2018). As a result, the interprofessional team’s collaboration allowed us to provide Maria the most suitable program for her medical conditions, which includes taking supplements, monitoring laboratory tests, consulting a psychotherapist, and extensive assisting with ADL’s and transfers. Thus, the collaboration allowed me to include in the treatment all aspects that I might not have considered when making my own decisions.

Nevertheless, this skill and competence is the result of professional practice and experience. My experience has also brought me an understanding of the aspects and skills that I must possess as a nurse leader in acute and subacute care. In my early years of practice, I often faced pressure due to the lack of support from my manages when I tried to be ethical about patients’ wishes instead of using convenient treatment practices. As Andersson et al. (2017) noted, stress caused by a lack of support reduces a nurse’s ability to listen to a patient, which degrades the quality of treatment. Such a situation also leads to burnout of nurses at work (Andersson et al., 2017). I experienced these feelings; hence, I understand that the ethical competence of the nurse towards patients and staff is helpful and required. For this reason, as a nurse leader, I try to always support my colleagues and subordinates in making decisions.

However, if I were the APN in those situations, then I would have more authority and use my ethical competence to find the most favorable solution for my patients. For example, I could order my diagnostic tests and some medications, and consult with an interprofessional team and physicians without waiting for the approval of the senior medical staff. Such use of my ethical and professional competence would help me provide the most comfortable care to patients and their families.


In conclusion, nursing competence is essential to treat and provide patient care. Nurses acquire a significant part of the skills necessary to achieve a high level of competence during studying, training, and reading scientific papers. However, some skills can be gained from experience and practice in working with patients, as well as an understanding of ethical principles and morality. Nevertheless, this fact is an incentive for every nurse to develop their personal and professional qualities and achieve competence standards.


Andersson, H., Lindholm, M., Pettersson, M., & Jonasson, L.-L. (2017). Nurses’ competencies in home healthcare: An interview study. BMC Nursing, 16(65), 1-8. Web.

Fukada M. (2018). Nursing competency: Definition, structure and development. Yonago Acta Medica, 61(1), 1–7. Web.

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StudyCorgi. (2022, July 31). Competence for Nurses: Why Is It Important?

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