Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Educational Leadership, Research and Technology

First Advisor

Dr. Donna Talbot

Second Advisor

Dr. Jianping Shen

Third Advisor

Dr. Faye Grund


Nurse competence scale, competency, assessment, nursing, NCS


The Dominican health care system has many challenges to meet the legal and the population’s health care expectations (La Hoz, 2018; United States Agency for International Development, 2013). The purpose of this study was to evaluate how well Dominican nursing students, who have completed their internship but not yet defended their final career project, assessed themselves against a set of international nursing competencies. In addition, the purpose was to explore any differences in their self-assessments based on whether these students completed their internship at public health care centers or not. Finally, the goal was to determine to what extent do work background, academic background, and demographic variables predict nursing students’ competency self-assessment. This study intends to help address the general problem of deficiencies in the Dominican health care system by focusing attention on how competent new nursing professionals perceive they are and how background variables might influence their competency attainment.

The research design of this study was non-experimental quantitative, using a structured online survey. The sample had 205 nursing students just prior to graduation from the seven participating nursing schools during the September–December 2019 semester in the Dominican Republic. I used the Nurse Competence Scale (NCS) instrument (Meretoja, Isoaho, & Leino-Kilpi, 2004) to assess nursing students’ perception of competency attainment, and also translated the instrument to Spanish and validated it for the DR context. The data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, one-way between-subject ANOVA, and backward multiple regressions.

Results in this study reveal that Dominican nursing students scored high in the diagnostic functions, work role, and helping role competency categories, and could improve their therapeutic interventions and ensuring quality competencies. Their competency attainment is the same regardless if they completed their nursing internship at public health care centers or not. The strongest predictors for their competency self-assessment level were high school academic level and the number of healthcare-related diplomas. This study suggests a roadmap to improve the nursing competency level in the DR. Further research topics could consider the assessment of nurses at service and explore the perspective of their supervisors.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access