Employers’ Perception and Expectations of Professional Competency of Distance Learning Graduates: A Tracer Study of Nursing Graduates of the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN)

Dorothy Ofoha, Onyeka Iwuchukwu


This tracer study was designed to track National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) graduate nurses in their places of work with a view to ascertaining their level of professional competency and to explore employers’ expectation of graduate competencies. The study employed the descriptive survey design. Participants included 222 NOUN alumni who graduated in nursing programme and a corresponding 222 heads/top-level managers of the organizations where the graduate nurses were employed. Multiple instruments were used to collect data including competency test, survey questionnaire, and direct observation. A number of remarkable findings emerged from this study, both expected and unexpected. Majority of sampled graduates appeared to possess high level of professional competency in all three competency dimensions measured. A significant proportion of employers seemed to hold high perception regarding the graduates. In matching the employers’ perception of ODL graduates against actual competencies of NOUN graduate nurses with the use of quadrant analysis, the resulting values showed that a significant proportion of the graduates met and exceeded employer expectation.


tracer study; NOUN; graduate nurses; professional competency; employer expectation

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5944/openpraxis.10.3.796


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