Core Competencies for Bedside Nurses

Advanced technology has impacted the way that we focus on patient care today. In order to follow the changes in the system, bed side nurses are required to change their practices and how they take care of patients. As scientific knowledge expands in the health care system and practices change in response to social need, a variety of competencies will also evolve.

Many nurses have already made that change by expanding their field of knowledge and increasing their role of practice to provide for suitable outcomes for patients. It is important for bed side nurses to provide care for acute, critically ill patients, and to their vision to provide the fullest extension of their knowledge in a variety of settings.

SEE ALSO: New Patient Survey Tools

The American Organization of Nurse Executives (AONE) described core competencies as a “Self -assessment tool, useful in the identification of possible area for growth.” 1The competencies for all nurses should emphasize effective communication and knowledge sharing. The competencies that can be used to improve knowledge should include the following examples: critical thinking skills of leadership, advocating for new knowledge for patients and staff members; and coaching and demonstrating best available evidence to provide cost effect care in health care system. How bedside nurses make changes in their competencies has to do with their ability to understand the reason behind the new focus on the patient experience, to understand the role of productivity that drives operations, and to understand how each organization will focus on the reimbursement for the clinical perfection.

HCAPHS Expansion

The new focus is derived from the mandated “Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) expansion. It is a tool developed by the Agency of Health Care Research and Quality (AHRQ) and adopted by the Center of Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) to measure patient satisfaction with the care they receive while staying overnight in hospitals. It is based on the patient’s perspective on care, how the staff communicates, the prompt responsiveness of staff, the cleanliness and quietness of the hospital setting, pain management, communication about medication, and discharge information given.” It should be considered a guideline for the bedside nurse to use in planning their interventions each day.

The new competencies need to be developed and perceived as fundamentals. The importance of productivity will be used as a guide to build a relationship with patients and family. The needs, expectations, descriptions and evaluations of each practice will have an impact on how the patients will receive their care. The goal will be to reduce suffering and/or prevent complications and errors. How well the bedside nurses communicate to each patient and family throughout the length of stay; how they share the expectation of their expertise; and how prompt they are in their responding to patient needs each day will be set as priorities.

The goals of the core competencies for the bed side nurse is to provide excellent care for patients in acute, long-term, short-term, and community-based settings no matter what situations may occur. The goals should focus on organization, effective communication, and sharing knowledge thru evident-based-practice within all health care environments. Nurses have to be aware of the increasing complexity of their roles and responsibilities to meet the changed in the patient care setting.


1. The American Organization of Nurse Executives. (2010). AONE Information. Retrieved from

2. Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS, 2012)…/HCAHPS%20quality%20Assurance%20 Guide

Lily Puntipa Phuphanich is a staff nurse in interventional radiology at Tampa General Hospital, Tampa, Fla.

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