Self-assessed competencies of nurses at an emergency department in Ghana

Victoria Bam, Abigail Kusi Amponsah Diji, Ernest Asante, Alberta Yemotsoo Lomotey, Pearl Adade, Berlinda Asante Akyeampong

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Introduction: The nature and scope of emergency nursing exposes nurses to a wide array of patient populations with rapidly changing and unexpected clinical conditions, sophisticated logistics and procedures. Hence, emergency centre (EC) nurses ought to be ready to face diverse clinical challenges and deliver care to patients in a timely cost-effective manner and with the needed competence. The current study aimed at examining the self-assessed competencies of nurses, and comparing ratings among certified emergency nurses (ENs) and general nurses (GNs) working at an EC of a tertiary hospital in Ghana. Methods: A descriptive cross-sectional quantitative study was carried out among 109 conveniently sampled nurses. Participants evaluated their perceived competencies on a validated instrument under five domains, namely: diagnostic function (DF), administering and monitoring therapeutic interventions (AMTI), effective management of rapidly changing situations (EMRCS), organisational and work load competency (OWLC), and the helping role (HR). Descriptive and inferential data analyses were by SPSS version 25. Results: Participants generally had good competencies in the performance of emergency nursing procedures. Highest scores were obtained in OWLC (median score of 83.3%) while EMRCS recorded the least scores (median score of 57.9%). With the exception of the DF domain (p = 0.166), ENs perceived themselves as significantly more competent than their counterpart GNs in 4 (OWLC, HR, AMTI, EMRCS) out of the five studied domains (p <0.05). Discussion: Specialist training enhances nurses' perceived competences in emergency nursing procedures. This reiterates the need for regular theory and practice-based education for GNs on intermediate and advanced procedures as they prepare to enrol in specialist programmes. As nurses take on expanded professional roles in this emerging nursing specialty in low- and middle-income countries, it is important the needed capacity is developed to adequately address the needs of patients and families that require services in ECs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8-12
JournalAfrican Journal Emergency Medicine
Issue number1
Early online date22 Nov 2019
Publication statusPublished - 01 Mar 2020


  • Accident
  • Emergency centre
  • Emergency nurses
  • Perceived abilities
  • Registered nurses


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