To bridge this measurement gap, the Evidence-based Knowledge Assessment in Nursing (EKAN) instrument was developed to objectively measure nursing students’ knowledge of EBP principles. The EKAN is based on the Quality and Safety Education for Nurses (QSEN) competencies and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) Essentials of Baccalaureate Education for Professional Nursing Practice. These frameworks articulate the requisite knowledge, skills, and abilities for the entry-level, generalist roles of caregiver and coordinator of care to enable the safe, high quality care associated with EBP (AACN, 2008; Cronenwett et al., 2007). The QSEN competencies and AACN Essentials have resulted in widespread curricular redesign and developmental progression models to promote competency acquisition for different levels of nursing education (AACN, 2013; Barton, Armstrong, Preheim, Gelman, & Andrus, 2009; Brady, 2011). The creation of an instrument based on these models provides a reliable and valid way for faculty to measure EBP competency achievement in prelicensure nursing education. Using the EKAN, educators can more effectively evaluate not only student-level knowledge, but also curricular content and teaching strategies along with needs for faculty development to support student learning.
This presentation will provide an overview of the EKAN instrument development process and findings from a multi-site instrument validation pilot study. The use of item-response theory (IRT) modeling, specifically Rasch modeling, enables the EKAN to accommodate testing for a variety of nursing program types, settings, and student populations. Rasch modeling enables discrimination of student ability and item difficulty with greater instrument stability across samples (Tavakol & Dennick, 2013), presenting an opportunity for a global initiative to enhance education and promote best practice.
Through the use of a common instrument, educators around the world can explore ways to continue to enhance student performance by collaborating on innovative ways to develop programs, teaching strategies, and faculty. Interactive discussion among session participants will focus on identifying innovative and unique strategies to foster student EBP knowledge development and how attendees might become involved in further research with the EKAN.
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