Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)



First Committee Member

Susan Kowalski

Number of Pages



Competency testing of nurses in relevant areas is a somewhat new concept. This concept stems, in part, from the 1996 Joint Commission for the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) requirement that all institutions provide proof of competency of their employees. The purpose of this study considered whether critical care nurses who are ACLS-certified are able to accurately interpret cardiac rhythms. Patricia Benner's model of skill acquisition was used as the theoretical framework. Critical care nurses who are ACLS-certified are assumed to be in at least the competent level of skill acquisition; The sample was comprised of 99 ACLS-certified critical care nurses (N = 99) from a southwestern urban county hospital. The instrument used to measure level of competency was a cardiac rhythm test consisting of 20 items. A score of 80% or greater (or 16 or more items correct) was set as the designated level of competency; Results indicated that 85.9% (n = 85) of the nurses were at the competent level in interpreting EKG strips. Approximately 15% (14) were not at the competent level. Nurses with greater years of critical care experience scored higher on the competency test than those with less experience (r =.274, p =.006). In addition, as a group BSN nurses scored higher than ADN nurses (p =.045). Examination of other variables indicated that there was no significant relationship between them and the nurses' level of competency in interpreting cardiac rhythm strips.


Cardiac; Care; Critical; Knowledge; Nurses; Rhythm; Strips

Controlled Subject


File Format


File Size

2795.52 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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