Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Leadership


In order to respond to the needs of a rapidly changing health care environment, nursing educators must redefine the competencies needed by the beginning registered nurse. The study was designed to assess nursing faculty members' perceptions of competencies used by the beginning registered nurse in practice and their perceptions of the degree to which those same nursing competencies were presented in the nursing curriculum. Faculty members' perceptions were compared also to the results of a previous study which included a survey of beginning nurses to identify their perceptions of such competencies.

Nursing faculty members who teach in professional nursing programs in the state of Minnesota were surveyed using an instrument developed by Hyndman (1999). The instrument identified 35 competencies cited in Hyndman's literature review as needed by beginning registered nurses. Faculty members were asked to rate how frequently the faculty member perceived the competency to be used in practice by beginning registered nurses and to rate how frequently the faculty member perceived the competency to be presented in the nursing curriculum. The 35 competencies were categorized into five domains according to the following constructs: intellectual competencies, interpersonal competencies, technical competencies, care management competencies, and community-based competencies.

The findings of this study revealed that nursing faculty members and beginning registered nurses are in general agreement on the competencies needed by beginning nurses. Care management was seen as the most important facet of nursing practice by both beginning registered nurses and faculty members. Community-based competencies were perceived to be used the least in practice and presented the least in the nursing curriculum. Economic aspects of health care were perceived by nursing faculty members and beginning nurses to be of a lower importance than other competencies. This may be of concern given the market-driven aspects of the health care environment. Beginning registered nurses reported documentation was the most frequently used competency in practice but perceived the competency was presented less frequently in nursing programs.