An evaluation of critical care nursing competence level among nurses working in critical care units at the University teaching hospital,lusaka

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Hamwiibu, Vine
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The University of Zambia
The quality of nursing care offered to critically ill patients and their survival greatly depend on nurses’ critical care nursing competence. Critical care nursing competence is emerging to be useful in early identification of deteriorating clinical condition in critically ill patients. The purpose of the study was to evaluate critical care nursing competence levels among nurses so as to determine reasons for nurses’ failures to recognise early deteriorating conditions in acutely ill patients and delay to act. Hence the study aimed at describing factors influencing competence levels among nurses caring for critically ill patients, at University Teaching Hospital. A cross-sectional study design was utilized to evaluate and explain competence levels of nurses working in critical care areas with regard to care of acutely ill patients. A convenient sampling technique was used, and data collection comprised of participants (n=95) completing the same questionnaire containing questions on demography, competence, clinical vignettes knowledge and Likert scale self-reported responses. Nurse’s competence levels were further described in relation to the state of art technology from the environment they worked using the observation checklist. Descriptive and inferential statistics were used to analyse data. The level of significance was set at 0.05 and confidence levels at 95%. The competency indicator for the knowledge vignettes and skill level was set at 75%. Results: Regardless of the age, sex, training background, support offered during the management of an emergency, position, work experience, type of qualification and equipment arrangement in the work environment in a critical care setting, the study result revealed that nurses were incompetent. In addition, nurses had poor levels of knowledge and skill, with average scores of 28% and 51%, respectively, far below the competence level indicator of 75%. However, nurses’ qualifications and knowledge level were the only factors that statistically influenced nurses’ competence level.
Intensive care nursing