Associate degree nurses’ attainment of work-based competencies.
The U.S. Department of Labor delineated five essential workplace competencies for success in high performance jobs. Competencies include the use of resources, information, interpersonal skills, systems, and technology. Since the 1990s, the Institute of Medicine and major nursing organizations have maintained associate degree nurses lack workplace readiness skills necessary for safe and effective health care delivery. Hospitals are complex work environments that require teamwork, resource utilization, collaboration, and advanced knowledge in technology. The lack of workplace readiness skills in associate degree nurses is associated with poor patient outcomes and high nurse turnover rates. The purpose of this qualitative explanatory case study was to develop an understanding of how new graduate nurses from associate degree programs develop basic workplace competencies. Twelve associate degree new graduate nurses from a large hospital in North Florida participated in the study. Data collection included semi-structured interviews, observation, and field notes. Analysis of the data was accomplished by breaking down, sorting, and reassembling the data. Findings indicated ADNs could not identify the five basic workplace competencies necessary for the health care environment and did not develop workplace competencies within the first year of employment. The overall conclusion is practical workplace competencies are necessary in the academic curriculum to promote patient safety, increase patient outcomes, and retain nurses. Recommendations for practice include incorporating workplace competencies into the ADN curriculum and educational experiences to enhance the transition from education to practice.
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