How do expert clinicians assess student nurses competency during workplace experience? A modified nominal group approach to devising a guidance package
This paper presents data regarding how experienced clinicians and academics said they assess the competency of nursing students progressing through eligibility to practice programmes in Australian universities. The development of competence during nursing education programmes is an essential part of university based nursing eligibility to practice courses and so facilitating consistent, reliable and valid assessment of the demonstration of those competencies is critical. A consensus methodology incorporating a modified nominal group technique was used to explore how clinicians assessed nursing students whilst on workplace experience. These assessment strategies were then analysed to develop guidance notes for assessors. Consensus was reached regarding strategies for assessing the competence of nursing students as they progress through their programme of study based on the views of experienced clinicians and academics. This work culminated in the production of guidance notes to assist assessors to feel confident that the student they were assessing was competent. The identification of strategies and activities, including the 'work of the nurse' could be observed within specific practice activities. Through using these 'everyday activities' the assessor would be able to observe, question and measure (within the student being assessed) all aspects of the NMBA (2006) Competencies of the Registered Nurse.