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Competency-based education, entrustable professional activities, nurse practitioner readiness for practice



  1. Hodges, Ashley L. PhD, WHNP-BC, FAANP (Professor, Associate Dean)


Competency-based education (CBE) provides a framework for nursing programs including those educating nurse practitioners (NPs). The basic assumption of CBE is that the student will demonstrate acquisition of the identified essential knowledge, skills, and attitudes expected for the designated educational process before leaving the learning environment. The work done to date in developing competencies and progression indicators provides the critical basis to move toward a common language and clear expectations for the continuum of linear progression of proficiency. Entrustable professional activities (EPAs) are built on competencies and stated as measurable activities that providers can be expected to do, at varying levels of competence or trust or supervision, and allow the faculty member, preceptor, or supervisor to make decisions as to what teaching methods and level of supervision are needed. Numerous methods are used to measure competency in clinical skill knowledge, performance, and practice readiness including clinical preceptor feedback, objective structured clinical examination, and simulation, just to name a few. NP programs continue to struggle with the education practice gap between theory and the actual provision of care. The discussion about novel and reliable methods for measurement of competencies must address the strategic importance of a consensus about when, where, and how students can obtain the appropriate amount and type of experience and supervision required in the transition to independent practice. There is also a significant need for processes and standardized guidelines that can contribute to EPA development.