Grading practice as a strategy to improve proficiencies in undergraduate nurse education: Modelling key areas of competence

Sarah Annesley*, Alan Platt, James Wade, Marco Tomietto

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

Background
In undergraduate nursing grading practice is generally avoided as it is considered educationally flawed.

Objectives
To test an innovative online grading practice tool (GPT) in undergraduate nurse education. To model the determinants of the final practice grade in four areas of clinical competence and in one cohort analysis the relationship between final practice grade and each area of clinical competence and an OSCE grade.

Design
A cross-sectional study.

Participants
A convenience sample of 782 nursing students from one Higher Education Institution in the North-East of England were included. The sample involved two sequential cohorts of final-year students with 391 students in each cohort.

Methods
A specifically designed online grading practice tool (GPT) composed of thirty-six objectives equally divided across four areas of clinical competence. The GPT was applied to two consecutive student cohorts on completion of their final practice learning placement.

Results
There was a statistically significant difference in the mean final practice grade between the two cohorts. In the overall sample, regression modelling showed that all four areas of student assessment contributed equally to the final grade. Analysis by cohort showed that in Cohort 1 clinical thinking and professionalism had the most influence on the final grade with person-centered care and patient safety most strongly impacting on the final grades of Cohort 2. In Cohort 2 there is no statistically significant correlation between final practice grade, each area of clinical competence and an OSCE grade.

Conclusions
Practice learning is fundamental to how students develop professional awareness and learn to nurse. Findings from a novel grading practice tool applied in undergraduate nursing reveal how effectively the tool works. Nurse educators must be responsive to the realities of learning in practice and explore new ways of assessing clinical competence.
Original languageEnglish
Article number105890
JournalNurse Education Today
Volume128
Early online date23 Jun 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2023

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