Converging professional nurses’ perceptions and community service nurses’ experiences regarding clinical competence during community service placement

K L Matlhaba, A J Pienaar, L A Sehularo


Background. Transitioning from a student to the role of a newly qualified nurse can be difficult when not well prepared. The expectation is that newly qualified nurses should reflect competency across a wide range of skills. To acquire and improve the necessary skills, many countries opted to introduce and implement strategies to prepare nurses for their professional roles. In South Africa (SA), the newly qualified nurse is required to perform an obligatory 12 months’ community service as mandated by the regulation promulgated by the Minister of Health.

Objective. To report the convergence results of the perceptions of professional nurses and the experiences of community service nurses (CSNs) regarding clinical competence of the latter during placement in North West Province (NWP), SA.

Method. The study followed a qualitative, explorative, descriptive and contextual design. It employed the World Café data-collection method, including 21 purposively sampled participants. Benner’s levels of competence scale was used to rate the competence of CSNs. Pienaar’s four steps of qualitative thematic analysis were adapted to analyse data.

Results. Three main themes emerged, i.e. ethos and professional practice; unit management, governance and leadership; and contextual clinical and technical competence.

Conclusion. The World Café method allowed for real conversations around mutual topics of interest, and rich data collected is a true reflection of the participants’ perceptions and experiences. These results contributed to the development of a clinical competence evaluation tool for CSNs in NWP.

Authors' affiliations

K L Matlhaba, School of Nursing Science, Faculty of Health Sciences, North-West University, Mahikeng campus; and Department of Health Studies, College of Human Sciences, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa

A J Pienaar, Department of Psychology, School of Health Sciences, University of Venda, Thohoyandou, South Africa; and Department of Graduate Studies and Research, Shifa College of Nursing, Shifa Tameer-e-Millat University, Islamabad, Pakistan

L A Sehularo, School of Nursing Science, Faculty of Health Sciences, North-West University, Mahikeng campus, South Africa

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African Journal of Health Professions Education 2020;12(4):191-196. DOI:10.7196/AJHPE.2020.v12i4.1401

Article History

Date submitted: 2020-12-01
Date published: 2020-12-01

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