Congruence between nurse managers’ and nurses’ competence assessments: A correlation study

Olivia Numminen, Helena Leino-Kilpi, Hannu Isoaho, Riitta Meretoja


Background/objective: Nurse managers have an important impact on nurses’ competence. However, research on managers’ and nurses’ competence assessments using the same criteria is scarce. For quality care it is important that these assessments align. This study compared nurses’ and their managers’ competence assessments.

Methods: A cross-sectional, descriptive, comparative correlation design was applied. Participants were 1656 manager-nurse pairs conducting self-assessments and manager assessments respectively in a university hospital in Finland. The Nurse Competence Scale which measures  nurses’  generic level  professional competence    was used to collect the data. Means, range, frequencies, and standard deviations, and Mixed Models with Repeated Measures were used in data analysis.

Results: Both managers and nurses assessed the competence level as good, but managers assessed the level significantly higher than nurses themselves. However, the overall competence profiles between the groups aligned. Higher competence level and smaller Visual Analogy Scale (VAS) score differences between the groups were related to individualized patient care, and ethically committed and flexible action in care situations. Lower competence level and bigger VAS score differences between groups concerned consultation, guiding, and evaluation activities within care team, developmental tasks, and use of research knowledge.

Conclusions: Although the difference between managers’ and nurses’ competence assessments was significant in favour of managers, there is a strong congruence between the groups concerning core tasks of nursing. Competences with low scores, differences between groups, management’s support, and factors influencing competence need further research for planning interventions to enhance competence development. Use of multiple assessment methods is recommended to add validity and reliability of the measurements.

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Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

ISSN 1925-4040 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4059 (Online)

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