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Nursing: Core Competencies Comparisons

The nursing profession is deemed ineffective when the core competencies are not upheld. To this end, the core competencies are vital in the delivery of high-quality care services, a norm that is the nurses’ identity that upholds their social status. Given the core competency profile, the ideas fronted are both the behavioral aspect and “the mastery of advanced practice skills” (Gibson, 2004). These core competencies vary concerning the area of specialization.

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As such, the core competencies of a nurse educator are different from that of a nurse practitioner, which also differs from the ones of a nurse administrator. Given the scope of this paper, we review the core competencies of a nurse educator, administrator, and practitioner. Eventually, we will compare and contrast the core competencies of clinical and non-clinical advanced roles concerning a nurse educator and a practitioner.

A nurse educator is a registered nurse whose area of specialization is to impart knowledge to aspiring nursing students at the undergraduate level. One needs to have a master’s degree in the nursing profession as a minimum qualification for the position. A nurse educator is defined by eight core competencies which include among others the ability to facilitate learning, the ability to foster learner maturity and socialization, and the ability to effectively access and evaluate students’ behavior. Importantly, a nurse educator ought to contribute to curriculum design and as such assess the effectiveness of the program.

Equally important, for nurse educators to shape the future of the nursing practice, then they need to act as change agents with effective leadership skills. Given the multi-dimensional nature of the nursing role, a nurse educator ought to embrace enlightenment to remain relevant and competent. With his role as a teacher, a nurse educator will remain competitive when he/she is sensitive to his educational environment “and recognize how political, institutional, social and economic forces impact their role” (Kershbaumer et al., 2008).

By definition, a nurse administrator is a registered nurse boosted by advanced education coupled with many years of working experience in the nursing sector. The main role of a nurse administrator is to manage the nursing staff. As a nurse administrator, the following core competencies are expected of you. To begin with, the administrator ought to demonstrate excellent communication skills both verbally and written. Second, the administrator ought to exhibit efficient research techniques that are relevant and helpful concerning nursing care. Third, the administrator ought to understand how different policies affect the delivery of healthcare services.

Fourth, possess the “knowledge and skill to identify and analyze common ethical dilemmas and ways in which these dilemmas influence patient care” (Sackett et al., 2008). Fifth, the administrator needs to portray professional role development ability vital in, for instance, spearheading change when required. Finally, a nurse administrator ought to demonstrate his/her understanding of the fact that there exist human diversities exhibiting a myriad of issues. As such, he/she should be accommodative.

A nurse practitioner (NP) is defined as a registered nurse specializing in a particular area e.g. pediatric care courtesy of advanced training. The core competencies of the NP have been acquired thanks to many years of mentored patient care experience. The core competencies of an NP include scientific foundation competencies which require proficiency in critically analyzing data, the ability to assimilate both “humanities and sciences within the context of nursing science and to translate researches into outcomes” (Sackett et al., 2008).

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An NP ought to exhibit leadership competency vital in spearheading relevant change. Moreover, an NP ought to be quality couscous, and understand how the dynamics of policies affect the healthcare services. Other key competencies required of an NP are practice inquiry competencies, “technology and information competencies, ethics competencies and independent practice competencies” (The American Association of Colleges of Nursing, 2011).

Given the clinical and non-clinical advanced roles with regards to a nurse educator and a nurse practitioner, some comparisons can be drawn. First, both levels call for the need to exhibit leadership competencies. This is important in spearheading relevant change that is anticipated in the future nursing care plan. Secondly, both levels emphasize the need to understand the impact of the external influence on the quality of the healthcare service delivery. As such, at either level, one should demonstrate the ability to fathom the impact of the policy.

Third, in both levels, emphasis is put on the need to possess excellent analytical skills to evaluate the subject to incorporate the relevant skill to achieve excellent outcomes. Finally, both levels emphasize the need to keep abreast with the ever-evolving nursing practice. Nursing care is dynamic and multi-dimensional thus there is a need to develop that urge of seeking information lest you become obsolete.

As for the contrast in the core competence roles with regards to the nurse educator and nurse practitioner, few differences can be noted. One of the differences is that while a nurse educator is expected to publish scholarly work and demonstrate skills in research works, an NP does not involve in that.


Gibson, C. (2004). Information literacy develops globally: The role of the national forum on information literacy. Knowledge Quest, 32 (4), 16-18.

Kershbaumer, R., Krisman-Scott, M. A., & Thompson, J.E. (2008). Faculty preparation: a new solution to an old problem. Journal of Nursing Education, 37 (7), 318-320.

Sackett, D. L., Rosenberg, W. C., Gray, J.A.M., & Haynes, R. B. (2008). Evidence-Based Medicine: What it is and What It Isn’t. British Medical Journal, 312 (4), 71- 72.

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The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (2011). Future of Nursing: Leading Change. Advancing Health Report, 2, 17.

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