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Comparing and Contrasting Competence Assessments and Performance Evaluations

Updated: Jun 27, 2023

A Closer Look at Joint Commission Nursing Care Center Standards:

HR.01.06.01- Staff are competent to perform their responsibilities.

HR.01.07.01- The organization evaluates staff performance.

Competence assessments ensure organizations and staff demonstrate the ability to use job specific skills and to access the knowledge necessary to perform in their role. When defining specific required competencies, organizations should consider patient/resident needs, as well as the types of care, treatment, and services it offers. Competence assessments are most effective when they are job specific, rather than generic for all staff. Many organizations find success utilizing a best practice execution model where staff conduct ongoing annual competency fairs (i.e., including clinical and non-clinical topics) over multiple days to boost staff attendance each calendar year.

Performance evaluations are broader in scope than competence assessments. In addition to assessing a staff member’s competence, performance evaluations also assess other expectations that have been established for each staff member (i.e., examples include ongoing training requirements and other company driven measures.) Many organizations find success in a best practice execution model where a rating scale (e.g., 1 to 5) is placed next to each measurable characteristic of the individual performance evaluation.

A common-sense best practice execution model aims to ensure there is concentrated thought and attention when completing both competence assessments and performance evaluations. Organizations run the risk of cheating themselves out of valuable results if the leadership staff is mindlessly ticking off the items on the list in order to simply complete the task. Organizations would be wise to challenge their leadership staff to give the proper time and attention to both competence assessments and performance evaluations. Both of these tools have great potential to provide essential feedback on both job specific knowledge as well as actual performance. If leadership staff devote the appropriate attention and time to both these important tasks, there is a real opportunity for professional staff growth and knowledge validation or expansion. Completing the competence assessment and performance evaluation process with true rigor and attention reinforces the company’s risk management practices and establishes the potential win-win for both staff and patients/residents.

Kathleen O’Connor, MA is President & Founder of Achieve Accreditation. Achieve Accreditation has helped skilled nursing providers and assisted living organizations to obtain and maintain their Joint Commission Accreditation for over 30 years.

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