Describing Nurses’ Competence in Primary Nursing Care Model: A Cross-sectional Study Conducted in an Italian Teaching Hospital

Antonello Cocchieri1 , * Open Modal iD Authors Info & Affiliations
The Open Nursing Journal 07 Mar 2023 RESEARCH ARTICLE DOI: 10.2174/18744346-v17-e230217-2022-165



Primary Nursing (PN) is a patient-focused nursing model that improves the quality of care. It has been defined over the years as a model to develop nurses’ personal knowledge, but the relationship between different nursing care models and nurses’ competence or experience still requires study.


The study aimed to describe nurses’ perceptions of their competence in the primary nursing care model and to identify sociodemographic and organisational predictors of nurses’ competence.


A cross-sectional design was used to recruit nurses from wards using the PN care model and wards in which a team nursing care model was applied. A convenience sample of 142 nurses completed a self-administered questionnaire composed of a sociodemographic survey and the Nurse Competence Scale (NCS). Nurses’ age, gender, education degree, years as a registered nurse, months as a registered nurse under the specific nursing model, and type of employment contract were tested as potential independent predictors of nurses’ competence.


The PN nurses reported a better perception of their competence in all seven NCS categories. Independent predictors of a high level of competence in managing situations were an open-ended employment contract, greater work experience, working in a PN care model, and male gender. Predictors of a high level of competence in ensuring quality were greater work experience and working in a PN care model. Finally, an open-ended employment contract and working in a PN care model were both associated with a higher level of helping role, teaching–coaching, diagnostic functions, therapeutic interventions, and work role. The variables explained from 10% to 26% of the variance in all categories.


PN model was found to be significantly positively correlated with nursing competence development. Advanced skills are involved in practising a personalized nursing care plan.

Keywords: Primary nursing, Nursing models, Professional competence, Nurses, Cross-sectional study, Nurse competence scale instrument.
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