Intro: This series of blogs will take us into a hypothetical grant proposal to conduct a pilot study workshop to develop core evaluation competencies to instruct nurse preceptors on how to successfully evaluate students clinical performance.

Cultivating Evaluation Skills in Nurse Preceptors

Oklahoma University is seeking a grant to develop core evaluation competencies to instruct nurse preceptors on how to successfully evaluate student nurses clinical performance. The primary mission of the workshop is to develop and cultivate teaching and evaluation skills in nurse preceptors, enabling them to take a proactive approach to shape the experiential learning experiences of undergraduate nursing students to be better prepared upon graduation; hence, retention in the nursing profession. The specific aim of the pilot study workshop will be to determine if using evaluation competencies developed in the workshop would cultivate evaluation skills that will better prepare nurse preceptors to evaluate student nurse’s clinical performance after attending the workshop. Nurse preceptor input will be the foundation for creating the clinical evaluation competencies. Funding in the amount of $93,500 is requested for the preceptor workshop.

Potential Benefits of the Pilot Study

Potential benefits of conducting a pilot workshop for preceptors are; (1) an exchange of information between the school of nursing and hospital educators can highlight gaps in student preparation in the clinical setting, (2) preceptors educated in the art of evaluating student clinical performance will be better able to include data collection, interpretation, formation of judgements, and conclusions about a students’ clinical performance which will lower student anxiety and may lead to more advanced trained clinicians, (3) the pilot workshop will have an impact on increasing preceptors’ knowledge on the importance of their role in preparing nursing students to be autonomous practitioners and retain nurses in the nursing profession, and (4) as staff nurses share their clinical knowledge and experiences to develop core evaluation competencies, it will lead to increased self-efficacy in the evaluative role; consequently, it will enrich the work environment as a whole.

Importance of Topic

Various studies have highlighted that the teaching and evaluation of nursing students in clinical practice is challenging for instructors, clinical nurses, and nursing students (Msiska, Smith, Fawcett, & Munkhondya, 2015; Rafiee, Moattari, Nikbakht, Kojuri, & Mousavinasab, 2014). Despite drastic advancements in hospital environments over the past 25 years, clinical nursing education has failed to maintain the pace, thus exacerbating teaching and evaluation problems (Beeman, 2001; Msiska et al., 2015). Contributing to this conundrum is a lack of objective evaluation methods and tools to evaluate students’ clinical performance, lack of instructor feedback, use of subjective instructor evaluations, as well as a deficiency in preceptors’ and instructors’ evaluation skills (Vaismoradi & Parsa-Yekta, 2011). Seurynck, Buch, Ferrari, and Murphy (2014) found poor to slight agreement between instructors and preceptors in clinical performance evaluation. The discrepancy between the evaluative role that preceptors are required to fulfill, and the preparation and tools they are provided in order to fulfill that role continues to be a major challenge for preceptors (McCarthy & Murphy, 2008). The use of clinical evaluations is critical for the learning of the student and also for patient safety (Lewallen & DeBrew, 2012).

Rationale for Project

Nurse educators should be proactive in becoming key partners with nurse preceptors. Nurse educators and nurse preceptors in collaborative partnerships can be the key to closing the practice-theory gap in clinical education. Nurse preceptors can facilitate the formation of an individualized clinical learning plan for nursing students as well as developing evaluation competencies to shape the experiential learning experiences of undergraduate nursing students which can better prepare student nurses for the workplace reality. All efforts to educate staff nurses in the skill of evaluating nursing students’ clinical performance will improve the quality of nursing care and patient safety.


Beeman, R. Y. (2001). New partnerships between education and practice: Precepting junior nursing students in the acute care setting. Journal of Nursing Education, 40(3), 132-134.

Lewallen, L. P., & DeBrew, J. K. (2012). Successful and unsuccessful clinical nursing students. The Journal of Nursing Education, 51(7), 389. doi:10.3928/01484834-20120427-01

McCarthy, B., & Murphy, S. (2008). Assessing undergraduate nursing students in clinical practice: do preceptors use assessment strategies? Nurse Education Today, 28(3), 301-313. doi:10.1016/j.nedt.2007.06.002

Msiska, G., Smith, P., Fawcett, T., & Munkhondya, T. (2015). Where is the grade coming from? Problems and challenges in evaluating the clinical performance of nursing students. Open Journal of Nursing, 5(1), 470-481. doi:10.4236/ojn.2015.55050

Rafiee, G., Moattari, M., Nikbakht, A. N., Kojuri, J., & Mousavinasab, M. (2014). Problems and challenges of nursing students’ clinical evaluation: A qualitative study. Iranian Journal of Nursing and Midwifery Research, 19(1), 41-49.

Seurynck, K. M., Buch, C. L., Ferrari, M., & Murphy, S. L. (2014). Comparison of nurse mentor and instructor evaluation of clinical performance. Nursing Education Perspectives, 35(3), 195-196.

Vaismoradi, M., & Parsa-Yekta, Z. (2011). Iranian nursing students’ comprehension and experiences regarding evaluation process: a thematic analysis study. Scandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences, 25(1), 151-159. doi:10.1111/j.1471-6712.2010.00805.x

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