Capability Framework

What is a Capability Framework?        

The maintenance of professional standards, and scope of practice. A capability framework ensures the safe introduction of new models of care, therapies, procedures and subsequent roles. In nursing education provision the aim is to move beyond competency training and develop nursing roles, such as advanced practice roles.

  • Competencies: Behaviours
  • Attributes: Personal qualities and capacity
  • Knowledge: Professional skills
  • Experiences: Work environment experience

Capability Framework

What Is Capability?

“Capability has been described as the combination of skills, knowledge, values and self-esteem which enables individuals to manage change, be flexible and move beyond competency” O’Connell, Gardner & Coyer (2014)

Used for?

  • to identify and address training and development needs.
  • building effective working relationships.
  • supplement established organisational structures.
  • improve the quality of care provided.
  • increase workforce competency and adaptability.
  • create learning cultures.
  • assist with developing leadership capability.
  • provide a platform for transferability of new roles and advancing practice.


As an education approach it may be too easy to repeat competencies without really thinking is this developing and motivating staff to their true capacity. As an intervention is initiated, this may warrant competency training, but to increase accountability, understanding and positive culture then capability may need to be addressed.

Capability Explained


Bowden, J., & Marton, F. (2004). The University of Learning. Psychology Press.

Gardner, A., Hase, S., Gardner, G., Dunn, S. V., & Carryer, J. (2008). From competence to capability: a study of nurse practitioners in clinical practiceJournal of Clinical Nursing, 17(2), 250-258.

O’Connell, J., Gardner, G., & Coyer, F. (2014). Beyond competencies: using a capability framework in developing practice standards for advanced practice nursing. Journal of advanced nursing, 70(12), 2728-2735.

Watson, R., Stimpson, A., Topping, A., & Porock, D. (2002). Clinical competence assessment in nursing: a systematic review of the literatureJournal of advanced nursing, 39(5), 421-431.