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Assessment Practices in Health Care

Name of the Student:

Reflect on current assessment practices for evaluating student learning in an educational or work-based
health care setting.

Find three current research articles published in the last five years regarding health care assessment
practices. These could be conducted in an educational or work-based health care setting.

Analyze the suggestions made in the articles regarding assessing students in a professional or classroom
health care setting. What recommendations do you make regarding student assessment in a health care
setting based on your analysis of the research articles?

Include in your review who must evaluate the students and health care professionals outside of the
classroom. What role do adult learners take in the evaluation process?



Assessment Practices in Health Care
The health care industry is a sector that is filled with many dilemmas to solve when it
comes to the aspects of assessing the competency of the nursing students and graduates. The
failure to have available standard assessment procedures and scales to base the assessment and
evaluation of the students in nursing is one of the major challenges facing this sector
(Bourbonnais, Langford, & Giannantonio, 2008). Health care is very important in an economy
since the health of the public determines its productivity and how the aims and goals of the
economy are achieved. The nursing faculty of the higher education is faced with obligations that
it needs to meet since the staff from their education systems are of high value to the society. The
obligation to absorb and take through a high number of students through the nursing programs
needs to be balanced with the obligation to ensure that the graduates have the required
competencies and assure the public of their competency (Gaberson & Oermann, 2010).

One of the major obligations of the nursing faculties and the stakeholders in nursing is to
assure the public of their safety when in the hands of the graduates of the nursing programs
available. The public needs services which are of the highest quality and the students and
graduates in this sector need to be highly competent thus the compelling need to have these
competencies assessed or evaluated. The evaluation of nurses is not an easy task and the modern
trends have suggested evaluation procedures which need to be well analyzed. Clinical evaluation
has been facing serious challenges due to the need to identify individuals who have the qualities
to fill the competencies needed in the industry (Lasater, 2011).
The development of reliable evaluation techniques and processes together with their
validity to be used in the nursing environment is one of the key challenges that are faced by



clinical nursing education and training. The formulation of evaluation tools which are widely
acceptable across all nursing institutions and varied environments is very demanding to the
faculty. Nurses are in most cases assessed based on their performances and the tools used in the
evaluation are in most fail to clearly identify the performance expectations to be assessed. The
tools developed have other issues of concern such as being poorly written and having unclear
clinical outcomes and failure to acknowledge the different faculty approaches to clinical
education. There are also different clinical environments and also varied student experiences and
preparation which are also a major challenge in developing standard tools that can be used in
nursing evaluation (Oermann, 2011). The roles of the faculty as both an educator and evaluator
tend to clash when it comes to formulation of tools and practices of assessment.

In nursing environments the nurses are mostly evaluated on their competence on safely
handling patients and being able to put into practice the knowledge and skills learnt in their
nursing programs. Competence is measured depending on the ability of nurses to apply their
knowledge and skills to ensure the health care providers offer safe and best quality care to the
patients. Competent nurses should also be able to handle and analyze complex nursing situations
relating to the patients, solve arising problems diligently and communicate in an effective way to
all participants in health care giving and the recipients (Walsh, Paterson, & Grandjean, 2010).
Nurses should also be able to understand all other factors affecting clinical matters arising from
leadership and cultural beliefs. Despite this understanding of what needs to be assessed in the
nursing programs, there is no defined consistent standard for evaluating the nurses and their
competence in their field.



Despite lacking consistent standard for the evaluation of competence of the students and
other participants in nursing, there practices which have been in use to assess their competence
and their ability to offer safety in the health care sector. Evaluation or assessment is the process
of data collection and analysis on various aspects of measuring nurse competency which are all
aimed at determining whether the nursing program student has passed or not (Bourbonnais,
Langford, & Giannantonio, 2008). On top of offering the desired knowledge and skills to the
students, the nursing faculty is tasked with ensuring that they are able to offer competent service
in the health care centers. Due to this obligation there is the need to continuously assess or
evaluate the students. One of the assessment processes in the evaluation of nursing students is
formative evaluation. Formative evaluation is an educative process that is aimed at offering the
students guidance as they undertake the program (Lasater, 2011). In this evaluation process the
students undertake various tasks that are aimed at assessing their application of knowledge and
skills. Their competency is measured depending on the skills being measured in the assessment
and feedback provided to the students to provide guidance on improvement actions. The
feedback provides the students with an insight about their noticeable strengths and weaknesses
and enables the students to be able to identify learning strategies to address the arising matters.
Formative evaluation practices are aimed at giving students and the faculty important data which
is useful in guiding the students and the faculty towards achieving the overall desired learning
goals in clinical practice (Lasater, 2011).
Another assessment practice in the health care setting for determining the success of the
learning process is summative evaluation. This is an assessment which is done at the end of the
nursing program learning. Summative evaluation involves a process which is aimed at checking
whether the students have achieved the required educational goals and whether they meet the



desired standards of safety and competence in the clinical field (Walsh, Paterson, & Grandjean,
2010). This comes at the end of the program which determines the suitability of a nursing
graduate and determines how one will be able to handle all the matters which arise during
practice. To make sure the highly qualified nursing professionals are produced to the health care
industry, nursing faculties should ensure that they integrate both formative and summative
evaluation strategies in the learning processes.
There are various strategies which can be put into practice in the evaluation and
assessment of the performance of nursing students to measure their performance and competence
and aid in the progression of the learning process. These strategies or methods include
observation of the actions of clinical students in practice, notes about performance, use of
checklists and rating scales to determine the competencies of the nursing students, use of
standardized patients and simulations to test the competence of the nursing (Gaberson &
Oermann, 2010). The use of e-portfolios, conferences, group projects and self-assessments has
also been tasked with the assessment of nursing students and also aid in progressive learning.
Observation of the students in practice is one of the major strategies or practices that are used in
health care assessment of the students. Notes can be taken which enable the detection of patterns
in performance and guidance in improving the overall learning process. Observation can be used
both as formative and summative evaluation process. The continuous notes taken during
evaluation can be used to guide the learning process by identifying the mistakes that need to be
addressed in progressive learning of the nursing program. The drawback of this practice is that
the data collected in observation is not reliable due to the varied opinions of the people making
the observations (Oermann, 2011).



Nursing students can also be assessed by using objective structured clinical examination
(OSCE). This is an evaluation strategy that involves the students being evaluated outside their
classrooms in different stations which provide the different environments which are important to
provide data varied data for analysis (Bourbonnais, Langford, & Giannantonio, 2008). The
students are assessed of their clinical capabilities through their interaction with simulated or
standardized patients, their practical competence by demonstration of sufficient motor skills and
techniques and also their static analysis by evaluation of cognitive skills during operations. This
is a summative evaluation strategy that can be used in the grading of the nursing students and
creates an understanding of how they will fare in the clinical field. The clinical evaluation tool
provides the layout of the procedures in clinical evaluation of the nursing students. It seeks to
find the consistency between the outcomes of the evaluation process and the competencies that
are required in the practicing of nursing. The data collected in the evaluation process is analyzed
by the instructors and other trainers of clinical instructors to determine how the nursing program
can be improved to meet the obligations of health care (Walsh, Paterson, & Grandjean, 2010).


Bourbonnais, F, Langford, S., & L.Giannantonio. (2008). Development of a clinical evaluation
tool for baccalaureate nursing students. Nurse Education in Practice , 62-71.
Gaberson, K., & Oermann, M. (2010). Clinical Teaching strategies in nursing (3rd ed.). New
York: Springer Publishing Co.



Lasater, K. (2011). Clinical judgment: The last frontier for evaluation. Nursing Education in
Practice, 11, 86-92.
Oermann, M. H. (2011). Toward evidence-based nursing education: Deliberate practice and
motor skill learning. Journal of Nursing Education, 50 , 63-64.
Walsh, T., Paterson, M., & Grandjean, C. (2010). Quality and safety education for nurses clinical
evaluation tool. Journal of Nursing Education, 49 , 517-522.

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