Examination of Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Competence and Confidence: Insight for Educational Programs and Faculty
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Purpose: The purpose of this pilot study was to determine any relationship between education level, type of educational program, number of clinical practice sites as a student, and time in practice with the self-reported levels of competence and confidence in the NNP role. Methods:The study design for this project utilized a non-experimental, quantitative approach. A pilot survey was developed by a group of practicing NNPs with an interest in NNP education for the purpose of measuring self-reported variations of skill and competence/confidence levels in practicing NNPs. A list of NNPs emails was gathered from a database of professionals within the NNP community. Sample/Setting/Instrument An invitation to participate in the study was sent via email along with a link to the survey. This survey utilized an Internet-based survey tool, Qualtrics, to assess practicing NNPs reflections of competence and confidence. They survey included completion of basic demographic questions as well a 30 item Likert scale with a range of strongly agree to strongly disagree that gauged the confidence and competence in a variety of management and procedural skills. Responses were blinded to maintain respondent confidentiality. Analysis:The data on NNP confidence and competence were based on demographic criteria including experience, length of time to achieve competence, type of educational NNP program using descriptive statistics and Spearman’s Product-moment correlations. Cronbach’s Alpha analysis was performed on the pilot survey and results were 0.94, showing high reliability. Results:A total of 285 NNPs were emailed the survey. Eighty-nine NNPs completed the survey for a response rate of 32%. Total NNP self-reported competence and confidence scores were high at a level of 99 (Range 45-120). T-test results showed high competence and confidence levels in common NICU procedures and management cases with more moderate competence and confidence levels in less frequent skills and management. Increasing age was highly correlated with competence and confidence levels. No significant differences were noted in comparing differing years of RN experience with competence and confidence levels. Higher levels of competence and confidence levels were seen in classroom prepared students; although the classroom students were older and likely more experienced than the younger, online students.