Assignment: Local Health Librarians

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Assignment: Local Health Librarians

Assignment: Local Health Librarians

Evidence of competence The NMC (2009) uses the term competence to describe the skills and ability to practice safely and effectively with- out the need for supervision – a reasonable expectation of the registered nurse made by both the professional body and the employer. Since the introduction of the Knowledge and Skills Framework (Department of Health, 2004), all NHS staff are expected to demonstrate appropriate skills and knowledge within their role. These are closely linked to pay and progression through the process of annual development reviews and personal development planning. It is therefore helpful for health professionals to be able to easily access evidence of competence as part of the review process. However, there has been debate as to the best way to assess competence and some recent work suggested that as there is no gold standard for assessing competence in nursing ‘…a multi-method approach to assessment is advis- able’ (National Nursing Research Unit, 2009.) Portfolios certainly constitute a multi-faceted way of presenting a range of evidence and as a focus for discussion as part of a performance development review. Local universities increasingly offer modules to support the development of portfolios for health professionals and a range of self-help literature and texts have been also been published on the topic. Local health librarians should be able to support practitioners in accessing these.

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Portfolios and advanced nursing practice roles There are particular reasons why those nurses who undertake advanced clinical nursing roles, such as nurse practitioners, consultant nurses and community matrons, should maintain up-to-date professional portfolios. The autonomous nature of the work of nurses in advanced roles

means that they are less subject to the scrutiny of others. In addition, the sometimes fairly wide scope of their nursing practice, and potential overlap with medical practice, makes them vulnerable to questions regarding their competence and qualifications for their practice. It is important there- fore, that nurses in advanced roles should consider carefully how they currently evidence that their practice is safe and effective. Some suggestions for evidencing competence in advanced practice within a portfolio are: w Records of education and training in advanced skills such

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