Degree Name

EdD (Doctor of Education)


Educational Leadership

Date of Award

December 1998


The research focused on the identification of entry-level competencies needed by Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) graduates who will begin employment in acute healthcare agencies in the next 10 years in Tennessee. The purpose of the study was to gain increased awareness of the competencies needed by graduates of BSN programs in Tennessee in order to meet the demands of the acute healthcare agencies, in light of present and anticipated changes in the healthcare delivery system. The opinions of nurse educators, nurse administrators, recently graduated BSNs, and experienced BSN graduates were solicited to assess congruency of perceptions. In addition, the subjects were requested to indicate whether they had observed the competencies in new BSN graduates, rank-order the importance of the entry-level competencies, list any additional entry-level competencies needed by BSN graduates, and list competencies no longer necessary in BSN programs. A list of 24 entry-level competencies was developed based on a comprehensive review of the literature, a review of the instrument by nursing experts, and a pilot study. Eighty-two nurse administrators, 96 experienced BSNs, 23 recent BSN graduates, 117 faculty members, and 11 deans/directors returned the questionnaire, for an overall return rate of 58%. The study found that there was a statistically significant difference in the perceptions of the importance of the entry-level competencies needed by BSN graduates between nurses in acute healthcare agencies and faculty in BSN programs. Also there was a weak (Kendall's tau b < 0.3) but significant relationship across 20 entry-level competencies between the ratings of the importance of the competency and the observation of the competency. The relationship was inverse; that is, the higher the importance, the lower the observation, or vice versa, between the rating of three competencies and the observation of these competencies. Technical skills and legal/ethical standards were the two most frequently mentioned additional competencies needed by BSNs. Care plans, bed-making, and bed-bathing were identified as competencies that remain part of current BSN education but are no longer necessary. The research is significant as it contributes to the body of knowledge relevant to entry-level competencies needed by BSNs who will begin employment in acute healthcare agencies in the next 10 years in Tennessee. Hopefully, it will serve as a catalyst for the establishment of joint meetings and partnerships between service personnel and nursing faculty in BSN programs to discuss future curriculum planning and design.

Document Type

Dissertation - unrestricted