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How to Make Nursing Competencies Fun

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The Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations mandates that nurses have to demonstrate core skills in several areas by completing nurse competencies. Many employers ask that their new hires pass these tests, while others dictate that nurses complete nurse competencies annually. Nurses have to demonstrate critical thinking, interpersonal relationship skills, as well as more technical skills. Reviewing the material can be repetitive, so making it more interesting helps engage the nurses and enables them to learn new skills and hone old ones.

Host a skills fair. Decorate the room, and stockpile small prizes. Set up a number of stations, each focused on one topic, such as pain management or surgical preparation. Have experts available at each station who can lecture on that topic, then have the nurses take a quick test or demonstrate their skills before they can leave the station. Move the nurses around the fair in small groups, each at different stations so the experts can have the ability to fully interact with each group. Give out prizes to high scorers.

Set up cheat sheets filled with information about one competency each month. When activity is at a minimum, have an expert approach one nurse and ask if he can take a break. If he can, he is handed the cheat sheet, and quizzed on its information. If he is busy, the expert approaches another nurse. Since the answers are provided on the cheat sheet, this provides a chance for students to review the material with an expert, without the uncertainty that a pop quiz might provide.

Set up online quizzes either by developing your own, or using professionally prepared material. Allow the students to self-administer the tests so they can work on them on their own schedule. Slate a time with each student to go over the material and discuss areas in which the student feels strongest and those where she feels she needs work.

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