A Pilot Study

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 experimental 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’s input will be the foundation for creating clinical evaluation competencies. Funding in the amount of $93,500.00 is requested for the preceptor workshop.

Implications for Nursing Profession

Educational processes need to focus on enhancing clinical reasoning through a learner-centered approach which guides thinking through the use of evaluation to make an inferential link between thinking and doing (Forneris & Peden-McAlpine, 2009; Lewallen & DeBrew, 2012). Teaching and evaluation methods are one of the eight core elements developed by the National Education Association (2010) to achieve and sustain excellence in nursing education; making this topic significant as it is a major area of concern for the nursing profession (Hansen & Bratt, 2015). Practicing educators should be proactive in becoming key partners with preceptors who can be the key to discovering gaps in knowledge, which will facilitate the formation of an individualized clinical learning plan for nursing students (Paton, 2010). All efforts to educate staff nurses in the art of teaching and evaluating nursing students’ clinical performance will improve the quality of nursing care and patient safety.

Contemporary nurse practice encourages nurses reflecting on, evaluating, acting on, adapting to, and critically thinking about each practice situation to deliver individualistic care (Peters, 2000). The Tylerian behaviorist pedagogy has limited application for this type of practice; therefore, a move toward the constructivist paradigm appears to be more conducive to supporting modern practice principles (Peters, 2000). Changing to a student-centered, concept-based education that facilitates critical thinking in patient care situations and prepares nursing students for a changing healthcare system, its aging population, and individuals with chronic illnesses (Talbot, 2013) is a significant parting from traditional teacher-centered education that uses behavioral objectives which include student memorization of facts. A systematic process is needed to guide decisions on which content is most important to include in the curriculum of teaching competencies that are required to prepare both nurse preceptors and student nurses in the clinical setting.

Implication for Nursing Practice

Unprecedented levels of change in both health and higher education have created a powerful context of reform for nurse education. Research has lately focused on educating nurse preceptors who are the primary trainers for student nurses in the clinical environment. Educating nurse preceptors is necessary to shape the experiential training of undergraduate nursing students to be better prepared upon graduation and retention in the nursing profession. Building on the importance of making steady incremental progress toward educating nurse preceptors, seeking grants to provide preceptor workshops to target staff nurses who have not been reached will enhance nurses’ educational potential. As nurses are educated in the evaluative role as teachers; consequently, this will enrich the unit environment as a whole where nurses work. Another potential outcome for conducting workshop to cultivate evaluations skills is the potential of opening doors to staff nurses to become better prepared for the role of teaching the next generation of nurses. This study will add empirical evidence of what kinds of teaching and evaluation skills and competencies are required in modern, more student-centered higher education teaching contexts. Currently, empirical studies exploring teaching and evaluation competencies are rare.

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