Nurses and nursing organizations alike are committed to lifelong learning and continuing competence. Nurses benefit from personal enrichment and professional growth, and it is assurance for members of the public that they are receiving contemporary and high-quality care.

Competence is defined as an integration of the attributes that comprise competent nursing care, within a specific setting and context (CNA, 2000).

Remember that while everyone has positive and negative qualities, it’s important to be able to use positive adjectives — conscientious, empathetic, persuasive — to describe yourself. You can then use those words to sell yourself to potential employers.

Visit your portfolio and record what you have learned.

Activity: Competencies

Look back at the jobs and roles you’ve held in the past 10 years. Try to identify the competencies you developed with each role. Don’t limit yourself to paid employment; unpaid work can also build valuable experience when you work as a:

  • student;
  • caregiver;
  • volunteer; or
  • member of a church or community group.

Make a detailed list of all of your skills.


The self-awareness activities on this site were designed to help you reach a greater understanding of your own career values, skills and attributes. When these are clear, it becomes easier to understand who you are and what you want from your career.

Try the Who am I? activity to further reflect on these qualities.

Activity: Who am I?

Record your results after completing the self-awareness exercises below.

  1. My top five values are:
  2. Priorities for my ideal job are:
  3. My skills are:
  4. My attributes are:
  5. Consider why all of the above are important to you and list your reflections.


You may want to discuss your self-awareness activity results with a friend or colleague.

  • Were there any surprises?
  • Are there contradictions between your values, priorities, skills and attributes?
  • Could these be preventing you from moving on?
  • What do you still need to learn or track down?

Visit your portfolio and record what you have learned.