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Identifying Core Competencies of Infection Control Nurse Specialists in Hong Kong

Chan, Wai Fong PhD, MPH, BN(PostReg), BBA(Hons); Bond, Trevor G. PhD; Adamson, Bob PhD; Chow, Meyrick PhD, RN

doi: 10.1097/NUR.0000000000000174
Feature Article

Purpose: To confirm a core competency scale for Hong Kong infection control nurses at the advanced nursing practice level from the core competency items proposed in a previous phase of this study. This would serve as the foundation of competency assurance in Hong Kong hospitals.

Design: A cross-sectional survey design was used.

Setting: All public and private hospitals in Hong Kong.

Subjects: All infection control nurses in hospitals of Hong Kong.

Methods: The 83-item proposed core competency list established in an earlier study was transformed into a questionnaire and sent to 112 infection control nurses in 48 hospitals in Hong Kong. They were asked to rate the importance of each infection prevention and control item using Likert-style response categories. Data were analyzed using the Rasch model.

Results: The response rate of 81.25% was achieved. Seven items were removed from the proposed core competency list, leaving a scale of 76 items that fit the measurement requirements of the unidimensional Rasch model.

Conclusions: Essential core competency items of advanced practice for infection control nurses in Hong Kong were identified based on the measurement criteria of the Rasch model. Several items of the scale that reflect local Hong Kong contextual characteristics are distinguished from the overseas standards.

Implications: This local-specific competency list could serve as the foundation for education and for certification of infection control nurse specialists in Hong Kong. Rasch measurement is an appropriate analytical tool for identifying core competencies of advanced practice nurses in other specialties and in other locations in a manner that incorporates practitioner judgment and expertise.

Author Affiliations: External Advisor, Squina International Centre for Infection Control, and Adjunct Assistant Professor, School of Nursing, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hung Hom, and Visiting Lecturer (Dr Chan), School of Nursing, Tung Wah College, Kowloon, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region People’s Republic of China; Adjunct Professor (Dr Bond), College of Arts, Society and Education, James Cook University, Townsville, Queensland, Australia, and the Hong Kong Institute of Education, Tai Po, Hong Kong, Special Administrative Region People’s Republic of China; Chair Professor of Curriculum Reform and Head, Department of International Education and Lifelong Learning, and Director (Dr Adamson), Centre for Lifelong Learning Research and Development, Hong Kong Institute of Education, Special Administrative Region People’s Republic of China; Faculty Member, Hong Kong Polytechnic University School of Nursing, and Associate Professor and Associate Head (Dr Chow), School of Nursing, Tung Wah College, Kowloon, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region People’s Republic of China.

The authors report no conflicts of interest.

Correspondence: Wai Fong Chan, PhD, RN, FHKAN (Medicine-Infection Control), School of Nursing, Tung Wah College, 31 Wylie Rd, Homantin, Kowloon, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, People’s Republic of China (

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