Issues in administration| Volume 38, ISSUE 6, P517-525, November 2009

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The relationship between knowledge and clinical performance in novice and experienced critical care nurses

Published:February 23, 2009DOI:


      The purpose of this study was to measure directly the knowledge and performance of novice and experienced critical care nurses in a simulated task environment.


      Nurses were required to control the physiologic deterioration of patients with respiratory compromise in 4 scenarios and were also tested on their knowledge of the constructs present in the scenarios.


      The results indicate that experienced nurses possessed highly superior knowledge when compared with novice nurses (P < .001). The results further demonstrated a lack of reliable differences in actual clinical performance when nurses were considered solely on the basis of their term of experience. Group differences in performance were demonstrated only when nurses who had achieved board certification in critical care nursing were compared with the remaining participants.


      The results demonstrate the lack of linkage between knowledge and clinical performance, which calls into question the supposition by many in nursing that knowledge and performance are inextricably linked.
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