INTRODUCTION: "Clinical competency" is an ambiguous and context-based concept. This study aims to define the postgraduate psychiatric nursing students` clinical competency.
METHODS: This qualitative study, the part of a larger study and extracted from the Ph.D. thesis, was approved by the Ethics Committee. It is a qualitative content analysis study conducted in the nursing schools holding postgraduate psychiatric nursing program. 21 participants were instructors and postgraduate students in psychiatric nursing, psychiatric nurses, psychiatrist and psychologist who have experienced working in psychiatric settings. Data collection was conducted from November 2019 to August 2020 using a purposeful sampling. Individually semi-structured interviews were conducted. The conventional content analysis of data was performed using Graneheim & Lundman method.
RESULTS: Three themes and eight categories were recognized. The emerging themes include "Personal characteristics"(with categories" Individual and family properties", "Ethical principles", "Physical and mental competence"), "Technical competency"(with categories "Specialized knowledge", "Application of knowledge in practice"), and "Meta competency"(with categories "Ability to think and clinical reasoning", "Dynamic learning", "Human and organizational management").
DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION: The postgraduate psychiatric nursing students` clinical competency is" to dynamically learn specialized knowledge and skills, creatively apply in clinical practice, and critically do clinical reasoning besides having individual& family properties, physical & mental competence, commitment to ethical principles. Furthermore, managing nursing cares provides integrated care for the patient. Conceptualizing the concept of psychiatric nurses' competency appropriate to context can lead to the integrated educational program and objective evaluation of student competency.