How to Keep the Annual Competencies Up-to-Date for a Nursing Staff

Nurse managers must review their staff's skills periodically.
Nurse managers must review their staff's skills periodically. (Image: Images)

Nurses have a responsibility to grow as professionals throughout their careers. Because medical and nursing knowledge and techniques change, nurses have to keep up with the latest, as well as improve on basics. In fact, state nursing boards require nurses to show proof of continuing professional education in order to renew their licenses. Accordingly, hospitals and medical facilities usually keep track of nurses' skills, abilities and education both for regulatory compliance and to ensure their staffs can deliver the best care possible.

Pull the personnel and compliance files on your entire staff and review their most recent competency evaluations. Note the dates of each one and make a list of the nurses whose last evaluation was more than a year ago.

Decide based on your findings whether you want to implement a system of evaluations based on the dates of prior evaluations, or if you prefer to review your staff's competencies at the same time each year.

Create a calendar of competency evaluation due dates for each nurse if you are designing a system based on previous evaluations. Some nurse managers create a list on a piece of paper they can post in their offices, others maintain a compliance calendar and still others prefer to add the dates to their own personal calendars to ensure they keep track.

Select a day or week to perform competency evaluations on all of your nurses if you want a consolidated system. Although this method will result in some nurses receiving two evaluations in a year, it makes it so that going forward everyone undergoes evaluations at the same time each year. Nurse managers often find this simpler and easier for maintaining compliance.

Inform your staff about how your new system will work and, if possible, give them their competency evaluation dates and times. Making them responsible for their appointments will help ensure evaluations get done. Remind them to bring proof of the continuing education courses they have taken since their last evaluation.

Obtain your hospital's nursing skills and competencies checklist forms. Check with your human resources representative or department administrator to see if your facility requires any additional paperwork as part of a competency evaluation.

Perform competency reviews and immediately file the results in each nurse's personnel and compliance records. Inform your department administrator and human resources department as soon as you have completed your task.

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