Main Article Content
The objectives of this descriptive research were to examine: 1) the levels of knowledge regarding the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), 2) the levels of competency of Thai nurses towards the AEC, and 3) the relationship between the knowledge and the competency of Thai nurses towards the AEC The sample was 495 Thai professional nurses working at hospitals located in the northern region of Thailand selected by multi-stage random sampling. The instrument was a questionnaire comprising two parts: 1) the knowledge regarding AEC and 2) the competency of Thai nurses towards the AEC. The two parts of the questionnaire were tested for content validity by five experts and the content validity index (CVI) were 1.00 and 0.80, respectively. Reliability of the knowledge regarding the AEC part tested by Kuder-Richardson 20 was 0.84. Reliability of the competency of Thai nurses towards the AEC part tested by Cronbach’s alpha coefficients was 0.96. Data were collected between March and July 2014. Demographic characteristics and the levels of knowledge and competency towards the AEC data were analyzed using descriptive statistics. The relationship between the knowledge and the competency of Thai nurses towards the AEC was analyzed using Pearson’s Product Moment Correlation Coefficient.
The results showed that 1) overall, the subjects had a low level of knowledge about the AEC (M = 12.37, SD = 2.20). The knowledge about the AEC in general was at a medium level (M = 8.95, SD = 1.10), whereas the knowledge regarding nurse professional in the AEC was at the low level (M = 8.95, SD = 1.10), 2) the subjects had a moderate level of the competency towards the AEC (M = 3.03, SD = 0.50). The competency regarding professional development, self-development, and quality development had the highest score (M = 3.34, SD = 0.55), whereas the competency regarding ethics and law had the lowest scores (M = 2.69, SD = 0.83), and 3) the relationship between knowledge and the competency of Thai nurses towards the AEC was not significantly related (r = -.015, p = .755). Therefore, the Thai Nursing Council, educational institutions, and hospitals should establish a policy and plan to prepare Thai nurses for their knowledge and competency necessary to work in ASEAN community. In the area of education, undergraduate nursing curriculum should provide a course that focuses on knowledge about the AEC and enhance ASEAN nurse competency. Moreover, a bilingual nursing program should be offered to enhance English proficiency. In addition, hospitals and the Thai Nursing Council should provide scholarship for study visits, training and conducting research with scholars and researchers in ASEAN countries.