Defining Competency

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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Competency Assessment for Point-of-Care Testing (POCT). Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

Learn more about Competency Assessment for Point-of-Care Testing (POCT) (online CE course)
Defining Competency

Competency is the application of knowledge, skills, and behaviors of performance after staff has been trained. Alternately, competency can be defined a set of behaviors used as a guide and a structural outline component for the identification, development, and evaluation of behaviors in individual employees for specific positions. This set of defined behaviors provide guidance for how job-specific skills and tasks are to be completed and the performance level that must be achieved. Competency of staff performing point-of-care testing (POCT) does not vary from assessment of competency within the central laboratory.
Competency is to be differentiated from competence. Competence is the ability of an individual to perform properly in a job. Competence for a specific position is inclusive of a cluster of skills, knowledge, and capabilities. This cluster of job-specific items may be employed sequentially or concurrently to enable a person to act effectively in a specific job. These specifics are incorporated either in an interwoven manner or employed as individual steps for each job task. Each item may be overlapping between levels of responsibilities for multiple jobs. Competence for a specific job can occur at any stage of training or development or at any phase of an individual's career.
Application of competency standards to each job is achieved by applying the specifics of how the skills, knowledge, and capabilities are applied to achieve the appropriate outcome to be successful in the designated job setting. Competency also incorporates the level at which specific job skills, knowledge, and capabilities must be performed to arrive at competence.