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Nursing Skills Competency Checklist

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Working as a nurse is a career that requires skill, determination and competency. Employers use a formula to help determine proficiency for prospective nursing employees. This formula, referred to as a competency checklist, is helpful in evaluating the strengths of potential candidates and covers myriad nursing topics and responsibilities.

Temperature Pulse Respiration

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One of the most basic skills a nurse should be able to master is the assessment and documentation of a patient's temperature, pulse and respiration. This assessment, which is frequently referred to as taking TPRs, enables the nurse to gauge the patient's body temperature through the use of a thermometer, measure and document the patient's pulse by manually checking the pulse rate as felt through the patient's wrist, and evaluating the patient's respiration through counting the number of times the patient inhales and exhales during a set period of time. Documenting TPRs is a practice performed in most hospitals, doctor's offices and clinics when evaluating the health of a patient.

Emergency Room Assessment

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A critical skill for any nurse who wants to work in the emergency room of a hospital or clinic is to accurately evaluate the condition of the patient upon arrival.

Nursing competency checklists help determine what skills the nursing applicant has experience in and what skills will require additional study. Typical areas that are evaluated when assessing a nurse for work in an emergency room environment include the ability to use standard medical equipment, such as a Doppler machine, the ability to assist with the insertion of catheters and IVs and the ability to accurately assess the patient's gait, mental state and the presence of injuries or shock.

Labor and Delivery

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For nurses interested in working in the field of labor and delivery, nursing competency checklists are used to determine how well a nurse knows what to check in relation to the stages of labor and the ability to accurately assist in the delivery of a baby.

Nurses are typically evaluated on topics such as their ability to perform internal examinations of the cervix and to gauge the level of dilation and effacement that has occurred, the ability to communicate and reassure the mother and family members, the ability to assess the health of the baby during the labor process, and the ability to assist in the delivery of the baby and placenta, which follows the birth.


Rebekah Worsham began writing professionally in 2007 and has been published on eHow. She has expertise in the fields of law, parapsychology and the treatment of drug and alcohol addiction. She holds a degrees in law from Beckfield College.