6 Core Competencies Required in Nurses Today


    Core competencies are an ideal combination of skills and resources that help provide a strategic advantage to the person and the organization. These core competencies serve as an individual’s strategic and professional strength and an amalgam of experience, knowledge, skills, and abilities that make one successful.

    In present times, competency is a crucial element in the healthcare industry and an essential aspect of nursing. Critical core competencies establish the framework of work expectations from nurses at all levels. Moreover, they also define how a nurse is expected to develop and which learning plans can be beneficial in assisting new and experienced nurses in mastering their specialties.

    As it stands, nurse competency covers a broad range of topics and specialties that include more responsibilities than simple clinical skills. These competencies include:

    1. Medical and clinical knowledge

    Medical and clinical knowledge creates the basis of nursing work. But it falls under the umbrella of core competencies due to its exceeding demands. In itself, the ability to learn continuously and increase medical and clinical knowledge to polish clinical skills and increase expertise is a core competency. In this aspect, a nurse has to use a combination of essential skills, measurable abilities, and individual attributes to ensure they achieve desired results.

    Given this reason, more and more nurses are enrolling for online masters and online post masters DNP programs with the hope of increasing their knowledge and skills. It enables them to update their clinical knowledge, expand their skill set, and advance their career. With online academic credentials and qualifications, they can efficiently achieve organizational and career success.

    2. Creativity

    Nurses have to deal with numerous unexpected situations in their careers. Many of these situations can be out of the expertise and knowledge of experienced nurses. In such cases, nurses must apply creative and innovative methods to help their patients and improve the quality of healthcare services.

    Besides, innovative and creative thinking stems from problem-solving and analytical skills. Nurses can demonstrate creative and diverse observations and thought processes to produce innovative solutions in a healthcare setting. Hence, creativity is rather similar to brainstorming and helps nurses generate new ideas and solutions. It is safe to say that in the present times when nurses have to tackle numerous unexpected situations, creativity has become a core competency for nurses. Healthcare facilities find it crucial for their nursing team to possess this ability to deal with unforeseen emergencies to the best of their ability.

    3. Spanning boundaries

    Creativity and innovation are only useful if a person is willing to think and act past the current restrictions and regulations. Teams of nurses can find innovative solutions to unprecedented situations if they break free from the limits of their job and broaden their scope. Besides, in today’s dynamic healthcare environment, nurses are expected to be cross-functional and possess knowledge and skills intertwined with several other specialties.

    This aspect helps create a well-balanced outcome for the patients since the healthcare provider considers the situation from varying angles. Moreover, the inspiration for these solutions can come from many other areas outside of the healthcare industry.

    4. Change management

    The healthcare industry’s landscape has been rapidly evolving due to emerging public health issues and demands. Regrettably, the pandemic serves as one example of the significance of change management in healthcare. In such a situation, nurses are tasked with guiding and supporting the change within the organization. Nurses must have the ability to embrace transformations and accept new and different procedures/protocols.

    Moreover, they must also unearth the roots of these changes so that novice nurses can evolve their practice accordingly. Hence, the role of nurses is crucial in supporting and managing change in any healthcare facility. Nurses are the key players that help organizations thrive during unforeseen situations. For this reason, change management is considered a core competency that ultimately originates from creativity. It only flourishes when creativity and innovative thinking are celebrated in the organization.

    5. Risk-taking

    Devising creative and innovative solutions to unprecedented situations will often lead to risky decisions. However, healthcare facilities often discourage taking risks since medical errors and negligence can arise.

    The main focus of healthcare facilities is on minimizing the risks as much as possible, reducing harm, and preventing any errors. Nonetheless, risk-taking is not an impulsive process. It includes an extensive thought process that decides the benefits and potential risks of the current decision.

    A healthcare professional can only take risks if the resulting outcomes ensure minimal mishaps. For this reason, calculated risk-taking is considered a crucial core competency for nurses. It shows their ability to make difficult decisions after observing the situation and its possible outcomes. Because most of the time, the risks can be highly severe if it is a matter of the patients’ health.

    6. Failure tolerance

    Failure is a part of every profession and field in the world. But failure can be a lot more damaging for the healthcare industry. That’s because every small decision a healthcare provider makes and the service they provide determines the patient’s health. One small mistake can cost as much as a life – which is a huge loss. However, it is impossible to avoid failure in healthcare completely, especially in situations out of the provider’s control.

    Hence, nurses willing to take calculated risks should also be prepared to face the failures. Nurses who view failure as a learning opportunity rather than a practice obstruction are more likely to progress in their careers. It allows them to grow, learn, and build trust with other healthcare providers. So, failure tolerance paves the way for innovative practice, leading to success.


    The healthcare environment of the present age thrives on optimal healthcare quality with minimal errors. Hence, it is more crucial to eliminate confusion and guesswork from practice and develop a standard of competency in today’s time. This level and standard of competency must be applicable across the organization so that each healthcare provider gets to work with like-minded individuals. Moreover, it is also crucial for healthcare providers to utilize available data to identify the industry’s developing needs so that each healthcare facility can progress.

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