Ask the expert: Developing a competency assessment training program

Staff Development Weekly: Insight on Evidence-Based Practice in Education, October 16, 2009

This week, Barbara A. Brunt, MA, MN, RN-BC, discusses what should be considered when developing a competency assessment training program.

Q. How can I develop an effective competency assessment training program for staff?

A. Ideally, those who assess the competency of others are selected based on their clinical skills and ability to help colleagues enhance job performance. This means that they also possess tact and good teaching skills and receive appropriate training prior to evaluating colleagues' job performance.

First, understand that not all staff members should be trained to assess their colleagues' competency. A potential competency assessor should possess:

  • Excellent performance of the competencies being evaluated
  • Tact and the desire to help colleagues improve their job performance
  • The desire to acquire/enhance adult education skills
  • Demonstration of excellent interpersonal communication skills

When developing a competency assessment training and education program, there are some key factors that should be included.

  • Remember there needs to be a purpose and learners need to understand the importance of the program. You need to be able to demonstrate how job performance is enhanced and patient care improved by adhering to competency criteria.
  • Any education program that involves training adults to teach/coach other adults must include an overview of the principles of adult learning.
  • Your training program must provide staff members with the tools and support needed to do proper competency assessment. This includes up-to-date policies and procedures, appropriate documentation checklists, and adequate education and training.


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