Nursing for 21st Century: Capability is the power within.

Dr Patricia Bromley1

1University Of Tasmania, School Of Nursing, Hobart, Australia


2020 turned the world upside down and back to front, it shook us to the core, and it continues to do so. However, it showed the world nurses’ Capability.

Capability in neonatal nursing has been defined: The Capable neonatal nurse can be relied on to work just as well in familiar and unfamiliar environments, with a justified confidence in her or his clinical decision making, with well-developed clinical reasoning skills providing the means to devise novel solutions to unfamiliar problems (Bromley 2018).

In this definition, Capability has been used as an umbrella term, deliberately spelt with a capital ‘C’ to characterise it for nursing, to distinguish it from the general meaning of capability and capabilities.

The past 18 months has demonstrated this definition can be translated to the wider population of the nursing profession. The Power Within is Capability – with a capital C.

This presentation will explain this concept of Capability in nursing and discuss how we can nurture Capability within ourselves and within clinical practice.


Bromley, P 2018, ‘Capability in the Postgraduate Certificate neonatal intensive care nurse’, Journal of Neonatal Nursing, vol. 24, no. 5, pp. 277-283.


Dr Patricia Bromley is a lecturer in School of Nursing at the University of Tasmania and Unit Coordinator of the Postgraduate Certificate: Neonatal Stream.

She has a Doctor of Education; her Thesis explored the concept of Capability in postgraduate nursing students of neonatal intensive care in Australia. Her research, defined Capability in the neonatal nurse and resulted in a Capability framework through the concept of the Capability Wheel. In this presentation she will explore how Capability – with a capital ‘C’- translates to the wider nursing profession.