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Waikato Shares Improved Nursing Competency Process

Waikato to Share Improved Nursing Competency Process

A combined Wintec - Waikato DHB study into potential Improvements to the Registered Nursing Competency Assessment Programme is to be “road-showed” nationally and offshore.

The process to assess registered nurses competencies who have been out of practice for five or more years or more and for overseas registered nurses wishing to practice in New Zealand.

Principal Researcher Michael Bland (-Waikato DHB, formally Associate Head of School, Wintec) said the inspiration for the collaborative study came out of informal conversations between Wintec and Waikato District Health Board staff and individuals involved with working with students in clinical practice about the Competency Assessment programme and Waikato District Health Board’s orientation programme designed to enable a smooth transition for Wintec students employment as Registered Nurses at Waikato DHB.

Bland said the two organisations embarked on a research project to learn how the programmes could be improved as well as how the assessment dove-tailed with the Waikato DHBs Registered Nurse orientation programme. Both of these programmes had originally been developed in isolation, “this research study allow us to consider the students needs from entry to the Wintec programme through the Waikato DHB orientation programme with the aim of improving this journey for the student” Bland said.

“This is the first New Zealand study into Competency Assessment programmes which are required by the New Zealand Nursing Council. He said Wintec’s Competency Assessment programme was designed for new immigrants or those returning to nursing in the Waikato seeking competency with New Zealand Nursing Council. Another obvious benefit was collaborative research between the organisations.” (Note: the other competency programmes through NZ are similar and regulated by Nursing Council. Significantly we looked at how these two programmes dovetail together.

The study involved Wintec staff, students including foreign nurses new to New Zealand and those returning to nursing, practice instructors and managers, and clinical nurse educators.

Bland said the value in sharing this research with the other schools of nursing with similar programmes has subsequently attracted the attention of the Nurse Education in Tertiary Centre Group - a national body of all Heads of Schools in the sector as well as the New Zealand Nursing Council he said.

Bland said criteria about the standard of English language skills of students entering the programme were clear and are the highest for all Wintec programmes.

“There will always be some cultural difficulties that arise for students and while language skills may be competent, as measured by IELTS, there may sometimes be issues around comprehension, as there can be with some local students, depending on their academic backgrounds and capabilities.”

“We have already seen discernable developments in the programme, evidenced by the relationships with the key Wintec academic staff and Waikato DHB. Additionally, as a result of the study, information given to students around the programme, expectations and assessment has been more explicit and

the process has been made clearer to assessors.

“New developments in the orientation programme at the Waikato DHB are already being made,” he said.

“The potential to share the research findings with academic colleagues, practitioners and managers is a valuable outcome from the study.”

The research team members propose a plan to 'roadshow' and disseminate the methodology and research outcomes to all other Tertiary Education Institutes (and the Nurse Education in the Tertiary Sector group), which provide a similar programme within New Zealand and will seek funding to present at to the two most significant International Nurse Education Conferences in the world. i.e., Europe and Australia.


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