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Effective Assessment Practices

Effective Assessment Practices in Nursing Education

This paper analyzes application of OSCE as an effective clinical skills in nursing education. the main focus is on the use of OSCE as an effective assessment practice in nursing education. it also describes advantages and disadvantages of OSCE as an effective assessment tool for nursing graduates. Provides attention to central competences involved for effective assessment practices, such as; clinical judgments which need background knowledge for collecting reasonable evidence, considering appropriate interpretations, and determining the best course action.

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Matching Assessment to Expected Level of Competence

Teachers must use assessment systems such as OSCE. The assessment criteria must also acknowledge the challenges of simulating practical clinical environment in an examination context (Bartfay et al., 2004). Learners may have procedural know how but lack schematic knowledge, that is, knowing why. For example, learners may know how to administer medicine without comprehending that certain side effect may develop due it administration (Shavelson, 2003).

Clinical Assessment on Predetermined Competences

Teachers should base clinical assessment on preset outcomes, nursing objectives, or competencies that are then used to guide the assessment process. These parameters provides both teachers and students basis for assessing clinical performance. The clinical outcomes or competences serve as a framework for faculty members to use in monitoring performance and for determining judgment about achievement in clinical practice. For instance, if assessment is based on competencies that relate to enhancing communications skills, then learning activities should help learners in learning how to communicate. Our observations and assessments as teachers should focus on communication behaviors, and not other unrelated competencies to learning activities.

Effective Assessment of Clinical Competences

We should base our clinical assessment on preset learning outcomes, nursing objectives, or competencies used to guide the assessment process. These aspects form the basis for assessing clinical practices by both the teacher and student. Determine the learning outcomes of the nursing course to be met. Should also determine the competences students should develop. The outcomes or competencies provides us framework to use in observing performance in clinical practice. it also assists in arriving at judgments about realization of clinical practice. If learning outcome relate to developing communication, learning activities in patient care setting, or as part of simulation, or in a learning laboratory, should help students in learning how to communicate. My observations and assessment as a teacher should emphasize on communication behaviors, not on other outcomes unrelated to learning activities.

Emphasis on Supportive Clinical Learning Environment

The teacher always has the opportunity to develop a learning environment that is supportive in which learners portray the teacher as a person who will facilitate their learning and development of clinical outcomes. In clinical setting, learners need to feel at ease asking questions and seeking their guidance rather than avoiding them. Effective assessment practices depend on supportive environment. This is because learners need to recognize that feedback from a teacher is aimed at making them improve performance. Developing learning environment is also necessary since students in clinical practice experience stress. Variety of factors influence development of this learning environment. Clinical settings ought to provide experiences that encourage learning and development. Students need to be supported by teachers. The teacher also needs to collaborate with other staff members, and students; more so, communicate effectively. This should be done both individually and as a group or team. Mutual trust and respect must also exist between the teacher and student for lraning to take place.

Personal Values That May Influence Assessment Process

As effective teachers, we need to understand our personal values, attitudes, beliefs and prejudices, which may impact on assessment process. These aspects impact both collected data about students and inferences made. Furthermore, learners have display their own set of values, beliefs, attitudes that impact their self assessments of performance and their reactions to assessments and feedback from teachers. Learners acceptance of guidance from teachers in nursing practice and information they receive for improving performance is influenced by their past experiences in clinical courses with other faculty. Learners may have experienced problems in prior clinical, getting only negative feedback and limited support from the teacher, staff members and others. In circumstances in which learner responses limit learning, the teacher may require to intervene to guide learners to be more self aware concerning the student’s own values and the effect they having on their learning.

Analysis of Advantages of Effective Assessment Practices

  • Essential requirement of health professional education
  • Includes summative and formative components
  • Ensure objectivity and maximize reliability in assessment
  • Stress in nursing practice

Analysis of Disadvantages of Effective Assessment Practices

In clinical practice, students experience a number of stresses which include: fear of committing mistakes that would injure the patient; Lack of insufficient knowledge and skills for patient care; changing patient conditions and uncertainty on how to respond; being less conversant with staff policies and other aspects of ; caring for difficult patients; having the teacher observe and assess clinical performance; interacting with the patient with the patient,

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Matching Effective Assessment to Expected Learner Outcome

There are a number of factors that show that students especial at undergraduate level in clinical practice are best used for assessment of discreet psychomotor skills. One, that students work towards the novice end of the novice-expert continuum. Two, ensure nurses are sufficiently competent for effective and safe practice prior to clinical placement. Last but not least, recognizing difficulties of replicating practical clinical experience in an assessment context (examination context). Teachers must use assessment systems such as OSCE. The assessment criteria must also acknowledge the challenges of simulating practical clinical environment in an examination context. Learners may have procedural know how but lack schematic knowledge, that is, knowing why. For example, learners may know how to administer medicine without comprehending that certain side effect may develop due it administration. Therefore, teachers must ensure that assessment practices include conceptual knowledge as well as dexterity and precision of movement. This must evaluate psychomotor skills in combination with the knowledge that involves their safe application. The teacher must incorporate this with the understanding that synthesis of the two forms of knowledge happens; precisely as he approaches the end of the study unit.

Conclusion

In sum, it is debatable at various clinical study levels, that it is the concrete, measurable aspects of clinical performance that are well assessed by effective assessment practices such as, the OSCE. Teachers apply OSCE primarily to evaluate technical skills and the underlying knowledge needed for their safe and accurate application. OSCE also minimizes the effect of context specificity and circular logic. In addition, teachers must also consider the significance of evaluating competency elements such as critical thinking skills, interpersonal / communication skills; and ensuring that nursing students are able to examine the patient as a whole. Apparently, teachers require a variety of evaluation methods to integrate the diverse nature of nursing practice.

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