Nursing and competencies - a natural fit : the politics of skill/competency formation in nursing

Windsor, Carol, Douglas, Clint, & Harvey, Theresa (2012) Nursing and competencies - a natural fit : the politics of skill/competency formation in nursing. Nursing Inquiry, 19(3), pp. 213-222.

View at publisher


The last two decades have seen a significant restructuring of work across Australia and other industrialised economies, a critical part of which has been the appearance of competency based education and assessment. The competency movement is about creating a more flexible and mobile labour force to increase productivity and it does so by redefining work as a set of transferable or ‘soft’ generic skills that are transportable and are the possession of the individual. This article sought to develop an analysis of competency based clinical assessment of nursing students across a bachelor of nursing degree course. This involved an examination of a total of 406 clinical assessment tools that covered the years 1992-2009 and the three years of a bachelor degree. Data analysis generated three analytical findings: the existence of a hierarchy of competencies that prioritises soft skills over intellectual and technical skills; the appearance of skills as personal qualities or individual attributes; and the absence of context in assessment. The article argues that the convergence in nursing of soft skills and the professionalisation project reform has seen the former give legitimacy to the enduring invisibility and devaluation of nursing work.

Impact and interest:

13 citations in Scopus
12 citations in Web of Science®
Search Google Scholar™

Citation counts are sourced monthly from Scopus and Web of Science® citation databases.

These databases contain citations from different subsets of available publications and different time periods and thus the citation count from each is usually different. Some works are not in either database and no count is displayed. Scopus includes citations from articles published in 1996 onwards, and Web of Science® generally from 1980 onwards.

Citations counts from the Google Scholar™ indexing service can be viewed at the linked Google Scholar™ search.

Full-text downloads:

833 since deposited on 01 Jul 2011
104 in the past twelve months

Full-text downloads displays the total number of times this work’s files (e.g., a PDF) have been downloaded from QUT ePrints as well as the number of downloads in the previous 365 days. The count includes downloads for all files if a work has more than one.

ID Code: 42326
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Competence, Competency, Soft skills, Nursing, Professionalisation
DOI: 10.1111/j.1440-1800.2011.00549.x
ISSN: 1440-1800
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > NURSING (111000)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Schools > School of Nursing
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
Copyright Statement: The definitive version is available at
Deposited On: 01 Jul 2011 05:32
Last Modified: 31 Oct 2013 01:58

Export: EndNote | Dublin Core | BibTeX

Repository Staff Only: item control page