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AMSN Medical-Surgical Nursing Competency Framework

Introducing: AMSN Medical-Surgical Nursing Competency Framework.

Definition of Nursing Competency

"The ability of a nurse to effectively demonstrate a set of attributes, such as personal characteristics, values, attitudes, knowledge and skills, which are required to fulfill his/her professional responsibility."

Takase & Teroka, (2011, p. 398)

Medical-surgical nurses provide care to adults with a variety of medical issues or who are preparing for/recovering from surgery. They have a broad knowledge base and are experts in their practice.

To handle a wide array of medical needs across disciplines, med-surg nurses must be knowledgeable about all adult health conditions/diseases. 

For this reason, med-surg competencies are extensive and cover a wide range of knowledge, skills, abilities, and other qualities (KSAOs).

AMSN recognized there was no consolidated set of competencies for medical-surgical nurses, and so we set about developing one.

The AMSN Medical-Surgical Nursing Competency Framework takes the guesswork out of personal and organizational assessment, allowing you and your organization to uncover your strengths and weaknesses in order to help you better understand and communicate your level of clinical expertise and to assist with personal/team growth.

Benefits to Individuals

You want to be your best, so you can give your best to the patients you serve. The AMSN Medical-Surgical Nursing Competency Framework is your guide to reaching higher, achieving more and excelling beyond expectations, by:

  • Measuring and benchmark your nursing skills against a robust set of scientifically validated competency statements developed by a team of your peers
  • Understanding your own personality traits and how they contribute to your professional competency
  • Learning areas where you excel and areas for growth
  • Using results to develop a personal educational and career growth plan
  • Sharing results with employers, at your discretion, for professional development
  • Learning how your competency impacts patient/organizational and individual nurse outcomes
  • And, most importantly… refining your practice to provide better patient care!

I love AMSN…it encouraged me to keep furthering my education.”

~ Nurse reviewer of Framework

Benefits to Organizations

Leverage AMSN’s 30 years of expertise in supporting and educating med-surg nurses to help them grow professionally. Use the evidence-based,  scientifically validated Framework to:

  • Assess existing and new staff on med-surg tasks with over 400 task statements built into the Framework
  • Use the Framework to supplement and bring rigor to your annual nurse competency measurement requirements
  • Use the Framework to plan hiring and staff professional development
  • Understand how your nurses’ competencies impact patient/organizational and individual nurse outcomes
  • Report on areas of expertise to internal and external stakeholders and funders

Nurses we talked to about the competencies told us they loved having:

  • defined competencies
  • a scope of skills and knowledge
  • a way to impact quality of care and build knowledge
  • an individualized, autonomous self-assessment
  • knowledge of weaknesses and strengths
  • career enhancement, affirmation of experience
  • targeted and relevant professional development
  • possibilities for recognition

These nurses also said they loved having:

  • benchmarks of practice
  • A way to impact quality of care and build knowledge
  • guidelines for performance improvement
  • comparing staff and organizations within the platform dashboard
  • ROI to organizations


Who can take advantage of the AMSN Medical-Surgical Nursing Competency Framework?

Our competency framework was designed to be utilized by both individual med-surg nurses and institutions. This flexible assessment can be used by individuals who want to understand their current competency and grow their career, or by organizations wishing to benchmark their performance and set goals around hiring, retaining, measuring annual competency and effectively training med-surg nurses.

How does the AMSN Medical-Surgical Nursing Competency Framework work?

The model was created with ease of use in mind. Currently the platform will allow for annual assessments which can be performed by individual nurses or by nurses as directed by their employers (at the organization or system level).

Users will complete a comprehensive self- assessment of their knowledge, skills, abilities and other attributes (KSAOs), and will receive personalized data on their proficiency level in the many competencies required of med-surg nurses.

Better nurses mean better outcomes.

How does the AMSN Medical-Surgical Nursing Competency Framework help me grow?

For individual nurses, the AMSN Medical-Surgical Nursing Competency Framework offers insight into the core skills and capabilities you need to excel in your profession. By understanding where you are now, you can better set goals for your career development, improve the care you deliver and grow confidence in your abilities.

For institutions, the AMSN Medical-Surgical Nursing Competency Framework allows you to collect critical data on how your nurses are performing, gaps in competency and areas for improvement. It also identifies the patient/organizational and individual nurse outcomes impacted by the domains of the framework.

Why should my institution support nurses in using the AMSN Medical-Surgical Nursing Competency Framework?

Better nurses mean better outcomes. With the current nursing climate, many med-surg nurses face high demand on the job, and a lack of resources and connections to learning opportunities and professional development. Our evidence-based model is aligned with industry best practices and offers critical insight into job performance and areas for growth.

Understanding these competencies across domains helps foster confidence and capability, which in turn improves institutional performance and patient outcomes.

Signup for Notification

We are currently putting the final touches on the AMSN Medical-Surgical Nursing Competency Framework! It should be available to new users, both individuals and organizations, by the fall of 2021.

If you would like to be placed on an email waiting list to be notified when AMSN Medical-Surgical Nursing Competency Framework is open for use, please fill out this form.


““Thank you for all you have done. It sounds fabulous. I would hope organizations would purchase it and encourage all nurses to engage in the opportunity.”
~Nurse reviewer of Framework


Takase, M., & Teraoka, S. (2011). Development of the Holistic Nursing Competence Scale. Nurse Health Sci, 13(4), 396-403.

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