Nursing competencies: personal characteristics contributing to effective nursing performance

Document Type



School of Nursing and Midwifery, Pakistan


Aims of the study: Core competencies are important in enabling an individual to adapt to new environments and perform superior professional practice. This study was to identify the underlying competencies which contributed to effective nursing performance.
Background: Most of the previous competencies are either derived from researchers’ conceptual analysis or based on practitioners’ direct report. Competencies derived from these methods either are subject to bias or are unable to identify the essential elements for effective nursing care.
Method: Following the McBer method, 50 experienced nurses in China were asked to report 82 valid critical incidents in their jobs. Two individuals coded the scripts and decided the presence of each competency according to a pre-established coding system.
Results: Ten competencies including interpersonal understanding, commitment, information gathering, etc. were identified. Each competency was illustrated by behavioural indicators.
Conclusions: Skills, traits, motives and attitudes all contribute to effective nursing performance. The findings assist in the delineation and development of nursing competencies and thus provide realistic working behaviours for nursing education and management.


This work was published before the author joined Aga Khan University.

Publication (Name of Journal)

Journal of Advanced Nursing