4 Great Uses for Nursing “Skills Checklists”

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Healthcare professionals face a unique and difficult challenge when measuring and conveying their skill sets. This is largely due to the vast array of skills that encompass a given healthcare specialty. Consider the difference between the skill sets of a general professional, like a sales professional, and a healthcare professional, like an ICU nurse. While I’m sure that the sales professional could develop a nice list of desirable skills, I’m positive that this list would in no way compare to the voluminous list of diagnostic, equipment, medication, procedural, age related, and condition related skills that the ICU nurse must maintain. Attempting to measure and track these skills or convey them to potential employers may seem futile for the healthcare professional. However, “Skills Checklists” can be useful tools for accomplishing these goals.

What are Nursing Skills Checklists?

Skills Checklists are self assessment tools designed to convey a healthcare professional’s proficiency with the various aspects of a particular specialty. As you can imagine, comprehensive Skills Checklists can be quite large. It’s common for specialties like ICU or ER to cover hundreds of skills along with age specific practice criteria. In addition, Skills Checklist rating scales range from “Theory Only” on the low-end to “Proficient” on the high-end. A scale for rating the frequency of experience with the skills may also be provided.

BluePipes: Professional Networking and Career Management Tools for Healthcare Professionals

Typical use for Nursing Skills Checklists

Many hospitals utilize some variation of a Skills Checklist to ensure compliance with JCAHO requirements. In this capacity, they’re used to document that the employee has the clinical knowledge, experience, and capabilities to perform assigned duties. Skills Checklists are a standard requirement when working with a healthcare staffing agency. Like hospitals, agencies also use skills checklists for JCAHO compliance purposes. However, agencies also use them to convey the healthcare professional’s skills to the hiring manager prior to the job interview. In fact, it’s standard for hospitals to require a skills checklist in order to even consider an agency’s candidate.

Use Nursing Skills Checklists during the job search process

It’s interesting that hospitals require a Skills Checklist up front when it comes to their travel nursing, travel allied and locum staff, but not for their potential permanent hires. Hospitals clearly believe that Skills Checklists are useful pre-employment evaluation tools on some level. Therefore, it couldn’t hurt for all healthcare professionals to make use of them as a selling tool when applying for permanent jobs. They can be completed, brought to an interview, and offered to the interviewing manager in addition to your nursing resume.

Use Nursing Skills Checklists for career growth

Skills Checklists can also be used for other purposes. For nurses and healthcare professionals just starting out in their careers, Skills Checklists can be used as a barometer for career growth. They can be used to check-off skills as they are attained and target areas for future focus. For seasoned healthcare professionals, they can be used as a barometer to maintain skills over time. In this capacity, healthcare professionals can reference the Skills Checklist periodically to see if there are any skills that may be in need of maintenance. Skills Checklists can also be referred to by those who are interested in breaking into a new specialty. You can review the Skills Checklist of the specialty in question and target potential skills to attain while working your way toward your goal.

Use Nursing Skills Checklists to help understand a specialty

Skills Checklists can also help healthcare professionals realize the full scope of their given specialty. For example, ICU nurses at one hospital may be exposed to different procedures, equipment, or patient populations than ICU nurses at another hospital. These nurses may be unaware that ICU encompasses the skills not being dealt with at their respective hospitals. Therefore, reviewing a comprehensive skills checklist can shed light on how ICUs in different hospitals might function.

BluePipes currently provides members with free access to over 100 skills checklists. Members can choose to complete as many as they’d like, save them, print them to PDF at their convenience and utilize them at their discretion.

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