Friday, July 13, 2007
This presentation is part of : Nursing Education Models
Assessment of student nurses in clinical practice
Bridie McCarthy, BNS, RNT, MSc, School of Nursing & Midwifery, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland and Siobhan Murphy, BSC, RNT, MSc, School of Nursing and Midwifery, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland.
Learning Objective #1: The inconsistencies encountered with assessing students in clinical practice
Learning Objective #2: The educational needs of nurses who assess students in clinical practice


In clinical education assessment of students in clinical practice is imperative in order to ensure that those who become registered nurses are safe and competent practitioners. Since the introduction of degree level nursing education to colleges of higher education in Ireland, more stringent forms of clinical assessment of students were required. Robust educational criteria were suggested by ABA (Irish Nursing Board) and were developed further by Lecturers and Health Service Providers within one Irish university. These clinical assessment strategies have now been in operation since 2002.


Concurrent with the introduction of these new assessment strategies, clinical practitioners (preceptor nurses) have been assigned with the responsibility of conducting clinical assessments. Preceptor nurses assess students as they progress through the different levels and stages of learning from year one to year four of the BSc undergraduate programme.

  Aim The aim of this study was to describe the extent to which preceptor nurses use educational assessment criteria to assess the clinical performance of BSc undergraduate general, psychiatric and intellectual disability nursing students.  


Using a quantitative descriptive approach a 24-item questionnaire was developed, 970 questionnaires were distributed to preceptors working with BSc undergraduate students. From a response rate of 48.5%, preceptor nurses use of educational assessment criteria was determined.  Data was analysed using SPSS (Version,13.0)

  Findings The findings of this study indicated that the majority of preceptors are inexperienced, do not fully comprehend the assessment process, and are not applying all of the recommended assessment strategies when assessing students. A large number of preceptors continued to focus on student’s practical skills rather than focussing on the holistic care of patients as outlined in the assessment strategies. This study highlighted that preparation of preceptors is inadequate given the complexity of the clinical assessment tools used.