Evaluating clinical competence assessment
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Evaluating clinical competence assessment

Anne Fahy Lecturer, Department of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Limerick, Ireland
Dympna Tuohy Lecturer, Department of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Limerick, Ireland
Mary C McNamara Specialist co-ordinator, Centre for Nurse and Midwifery Education, Mid-Western Regional Hospital, Limerick, Ireland
Mary Pat Butler Lecturer, Department of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland
Irene Cassidy Lecturer, Department of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland
Carmel Bradshaw Lecturer, Department of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland

Aim To evaluate clinical competence assessment in pre-registration BSc nursing programmes in one geographical area in the Republic of Ireland.

Method A mixed method approach comprising focus group interviews and survey questionnaires was used. The sample comprised preceptors and nursing students across three disciplines of nursing–general, mental health and intellectual (learning) disability. Methods of analysis were thematic analysis and the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) (Version 15).

Results Students’ and preceptors’ views of competence assessment and the process of competence assessment are reported. The study focused on language complexity, the assessment framework, the amount of time allocated for interviews and achievement of purpose. The main conclusions were that language needs to be user-friendly, the process needs to be easy to follow and all aspects of clinical competence must be assessed. The response rate from students was 87% but the preceptor response rate was lower (30%).

Conclusion Competence based assessment in the clinical environment is a core component of pre-registration nurse education programmes. Competing demands in the clinical environment challenge both the student and preceptor during the competence assessment process.

Nursing Standard. 25, 50,42-48. doi: 10.7748/ns2011.08.25.50.42.c8656

Correspondence

anne.fahy@ul.ie

Peer review

This article has been subject to double blind peer review