The central question addressed in the research study is:
RQ1:  How cultivating evaluation skills prepared nurse preceptors to evaluate clinical competencies?

Research Design

A sequential explanatory design was used for this study. This method uses a two-phase design where the quantitative data was collected first followed by qualitative data collection. Mixed-methods designs include a procedure for collecting, analyzing, and integrating qualitative and quantitative methodologies in a complementary manner in order to facilitate robust analysis of a research topic (Creswell, 2012; Merriam, 2009; Speziale & Carpenter, 2011). The purpose was to use the qualitative results to further explain and interpret the findings from the quantitative phase. While qualitative data served as an explanation of quantitative data, both types of data were taken equally into account within the final analysis. A survey was used to collect quantitative data from a larger group. Members from that group were then selected for interviews where they explained and offer insights into their survey answers (Creswell, 2012; Merriam, 2009; Speziale & Carpenter, 2011). The quantitative research method was suitable for this study because numeric and statistical data was relevant to an in-depth explanation of the preceptors’ experiences (Lodico, Spaulding, & Voegtle, 2010). The rich and descriptive property of basic qualitative research facilitated in discovering how people interpreted their experiences, how they perceived their world, and what meaning they attributed to their experiences (Creswell, 2012; Merriam, 2009; Speziale & Carpenter, 2011). Qualitative findings characterized by this dense explanatory description have been considered the gold standard to explain human behavior and choice-making (Kearney, 2001).

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this sequential explanatory design study was to determine how cultivating evaluation skills prepared nurse preceptors to evaluate clinical competencies. Preceptors educated in the art of teaching and evaluating student clinical performance will gain a holistic understanding of data collection, interpretation, and judgment formation and conclusion about a student’s clinical performance; which when shared with the student would lead to more advanced trained clinicians upon graduation from nursing programs. Other benefits from the workshop were increasing preceptor knowledge on the importance of their role in preparing nursing students to be autonomous practitioners; thus, retaining nurses in the nursing profession. Further, an exchange of information between the school of nursing and hospital educators highlighted gaps in student preparation in the clinical setting.


Creswell, J. W. (2012). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed method approaches (4th ed.). Los Angeles, CA: Sage.

Kearney, M. H. (2001). Levels and applications of qualitative research evidence. Research in Nursing and Health, 24(2), 145-153.

Lodico, M. G., Spaulding, D. T., & Voegtle, K. H. (2010). Methods in educational research: From theory to practice (2nd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Merriam, S. (2009). Qualitative research: A guide to design and implementation (2nd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Speziale, H., & Carpenter, D. (2011). Qualitative research in nursing: Advancing the humanistic imperative (5th ed.). Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

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