Making Strides in Our 2014 Nursing Annual Review

By Tamara Zupanc, MSN, RN, CCRN


The 2014 annual review resulted in increased satisfaction and improved confidence amongst our nurses.At most health care facilities, mandatory competencies are common practice for nursing staff. The topics for these competencies are usually based on requirements by regulatory agencies or facility policy. The annual competency assessment process provides a method through which facilities can both evaluate staff and provide necessary training. The institutions can determine the most appropriate methods for assessment of competency.


UW Hospital and Clinics completes its annual nursing competency assessment (Annual Review) during January and February, which is coordinated by education and development for nursing and patient care services. In the past, the competency assessments were completed on the units by unit trainers, but nurse satisfaction with this particular method was poor.


In 2013, a new Annual Review process was piloted on medical nursing units, using simulation to centralize and improve our annual competency assessment. Based on the success of the pilot, it was decided the process would be rolled out housewide. For the 2014 Annual Review, nursing staff came to the UW Health Clinical Simulation Program facility to complete the components of the competency assessment, which included:

  • Mock code
  • Central line dressing change
  • Restraint competencies
  • Nova meter competencies
  • Safe patient handling equipment
  • Nursing poster sessions
  • Nursing assistant-specific content

Ninety percent of inpatient units participated (35 out of the 39), totaling 1,363 RNs and NAs who attended the new Annual Review process at the simulation facility. A survey of participants reflected increased satisfaction (with the process) and improved confidence to provide the skills reviewed in the simulation facility. Improved outcomes in patient care were also noted through a decrease in falls and central line infections.