Developing the essential infection control competencies for nurses
Nurses need to be well prepared and competent in infection control. The aim of this study is to establish the essential infection control competencies required for Newly Graduating Nurses (NGNs) in Australia and Taiwan. A three round modified Delphi technique was used in the study. A questionnaire outlining possible areas of competency and elements of competence, based on a similar study in Canada was developed to draw on the experiences of experts in infection control practice and nursing education in Australia and Taiwan. One hundred and twenty-two participants were invited to participate in the study. Panellists were asked to indicate how highly they rated each element by using a 5 point Likert scale, in terms of their applicability and importance for NGNs. An expert reference group helped to validate the original questionnaire. All research materials were sent via postal mail. Data were analyzed by using SPSS 15.0 software and were content analyzed. Ethical consideration for participants was reviewed. All the competency areas of infection control provided in the survey were thought by panellists as somewhat or very important for NGNs. Sixty-nine elements of competencies reached consensus by panellists via two Delphi rounds. Items that had not achieved consensus in round 2 were included in round 3 in March 2009. The results of this study are expected to make a contribution to future curriculum planning in nursing programmes as well as improve Infection Control standards in health facilities in Australia and Taiwan, with obvious benefits for patients and society more generally.