Professional Competence

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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Ethics and Code of Conduct in Healthcare. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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Professional Competence

Patient safety and welfare is dependent on a competent healthcare staff. Patient errors are reduced when staff are properly trained and competent. Competence is the demonstrated ability to apply the knowledge and skills that were obtained through education and training. 
Maintaining competence is an ethical issue that needs to be embraced by all healthcare professionals.
Most healthcare professionals are required to be assessed periodically to ensure competence is maintained. However, you as a healthcare professional should continually assess your own competence and take steps to improve when you recognize deficiencies in your work performance. Doing so will minimize the risk of injuring a patient, yourself, a fellow employee, or the work environment. Self-assessment could be accomplished by reviewing data and reports that you have issued to see if any corrections or additions needed to be made, or it could be accomplished by periodically asking a colleague to watch as you perform a procedure to ensure you are performing it correctly. Further education and training develops knowledge and skills to maintain competence.
Competence assessment is not the same as a performance appraisal, although the assessment outcomes should be considered in the organization's performance appraisal.