Sample Essay on COPA model and the Eight Core Practice Competencies


            Teaching is a multidimensional aspect that calls for the incorporation of different activities at different levels. Teachers find it difficult to realign their teaching activities with the outcomes expected. Continuous assessment of the activities engaged in during class time can be carried to determine if the expected goals and objectives are being achieved. The COPA model, developed by Lenburg in 1992 offers the best solution to this problem Lenburg & Mitchell, (1991). Since its development, the COPA model has been widely used in teaching nursing and other medical courses in colleges and universities. The model is used to monitor competency levels among students by measuring how best they use to knowledge they gain in class to achieve certain needs. The name COPA, which defines the model, is derived from three basic factors forming its core functional units. These include: Competence for the contemporary practice; the Outcomes to be achieved by the practice; the Performance of certain essential competencies expected of the student nurses; and Assessment procedures structured for the desired competence.

The COPA model is expected to create a result to the expected outcome by focusing on the eight practice-based core competencies that are pegged on the current nursing needs. The model achieves these specifications by focusing on learner competence with the need for continued development in the nursing profession. In doing this, the model helps student nurses to create outcome statements that are clear, precise, realistic, practice-based as well as measurable. These outcomes are attained through the use of interactive learning strategies that are most effective in achieving competence. By engaging in these activities (National League for Nursing, 1992), the model provides a framework on which instructors can evaluate students through competence performance evaluations. This paper analyzes the eight competencies that the COPA model relies on and how they can be used to achieve maximum competency among nursing students.

The eight competencies help in defining the various skills that student nurses are expected to develop in order to be fully competitive in executing their mandates as nurses. Such include the assessment and intervention skills, skills in communicating outcomes effectively, critical thinking skills, and skills in human care as well as promoting relationship during care provision (Lenburg, 1998). Other skills include management skills, leadership skills, teaching skills and skills relating to knowledge and integration. All nursing skills and competence levels can be narrowed down to the above skills and knowledge fields. In this education program, I aspire to achieve four basic goals relating to nursing practice and management. My goals are related to the basic skills in the competence chart and will include: skills in assessment and intervention for various problems common to nursing care provision, leadership skills, and skills of knowledge and integration as well as develop skills in critical thinking. The methods that will be utilized in achieving these goals, as well as the time frame, have been described in details in Table 1 drawn below;

Core competency Ways of achieving the competency Resources Date of achievement
Assessment and intervention
  1. Carrying out practical assessment procedures to acquaint myself
  2. Work and learn under a professional for guidance and further insights on assessment techniques and criteria
Resource persons such as senior nurses and my instructors Developed throughout my studies
  1. Listening effectively to senior nurses and instructors
  2. Reading from past documents to infer on the best means of communicating various aspects
Senior nurses and instructors

Reading materials; books, journals, and websites

Good level of communication attained be December 2014
Critical thinking
  1. Comparing my findings with the past ones to determine consistency
  2. Making inferences from books and other secondary materials
Past records

Consultation with experts; senior nurses and instructors

Developed throughout my career
Human caring and relationship
  1. Practicing nursing code of conduct
  2. Practicing ethical nursing
Review of the American and UK nursing codes of conduct Achieved in October 2014 following a participation in a community Medicare process
  1. Observations from senior managers
  2. Reading from past records such as books, journals, etc.
Observations from resource person and reading from written materials Expected to be fully achieved by the end of this program in May 2015
  1. Attending and taking part in leadership seminars
  2. Making observations from relevant leaders
Seminars and observations Expected to be fully achieved by the end of this program in May 2015
  1. Learning from my mentors
  2. Conducting practical lessons
Mentors Attained in October 2014 following a participation in a community Medicare process
Knowledge and integration
  1. Learning from resource persons
  2. Attending and participating in workshops and seminars.
Seminar and workshops Learned throughout my career development.

How my academic program will assist me in achieving all eight core practice competencies in the COPA Model

The ongoing program is an integrated aspect that looks deep into the aspects of nursing and care provision. The rigorous activities conducted in class and practical applications of the same accentuate the attainment of all the eight core competencies above. Exposure to practical competitive and highly challenging environments makes it possible for me and colleagues to meet all developmental demands as stipulated in the COPA model.


In conclusion, nursing practice is currently one of the most vital areas of human specialization. Utter care needs to be taken to ensure that student nurses are equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge suitable for handling the current complex situations in the world. Proper training and implementation of learning outcomes completes each other just rightfully. The COPA model offers a suitable platform for carrying out an assessment process to ensure that the skills imparted are well utilized to improve competence among student nurses.

Lenburg, C.B. & Mitchell, C.A. (1991). Assessment of outcomes: The design and use of real and   simulation nursing performance examinations. Nursing and Health Care, 12, 68-74.
Lenburg, C.B.,(1998) Competency-based outcomes and performance assessment: The COPA        Model. Unpublished workshop materials. The University of Memphis, and University of   Colorado, Health Science Center
National League for Nursing. (1992) .Criteria and guidelines for the evaluation of baccalaureate   and higher degree programs in nursing: New York. NLN