The clinical learning and assessment model introduced by the University of Newcastle is improving nursing students' clinical competence in preparation for professional practice.
Developed by Dr Tracy Levett-Jones of the School of Nursing and Midwifery, the model, which has also been replicated by other universities across Australia, has a range of assessment strategies that assist students to achieve and demonstrate clinical competence.
Dr Levett-Jones said competence is a complex concept that studies have shown can be difficult to measure.
"To attempt to evaluate competence using a single procedural assessment model fails to recognise the multifaceted nature of contemporary nursing practice and the comprehensive knowledge and skills required," Dr Levett-Jones said.
"To address this we developed a model where a range of sources of evidence are used to assess students' competence. This provides a more valid and reliable judgement of their clinical performance."
Assessment tools include student self-assessment of practice and narrative reflection, core clinical skills assessment and Structured Observation and Assessment of Practice.
"The power of narrative reflection lies in its potential to enhance students' ability to critique and learn from practice, develop clinical competence, and articulate, appreciate and value their practice," Dr Levett-Jones said.
"It also provides students the opportunity to become skilled at assessing their own level of competence in a self-directed way."
Final semester students undertake a comprehensive one-day Structured Observation and Assessment of Practice (SOAP) that involves being observed in a clinical context by specially trained assessors.
"Feedback from students and the nursing profession about our clinical learning model continues to be overwhelmingly positive," Dr Levett-Jones said.
The clinical education model used at the Univeristy of Newcaslte was recently recognised as one of the most innovative and successful in Australia with Dr Levett-Jones receiving a NSW Quality Teaching Award for her efforts in its establishment.
The University of Newcastle will be closed for the Christmas break from 5pm, Tuesday 18 December 2007 and reopen Monday 7 January 2008.
During this time, urgent media inquiries can be directed to the following staff:
Wednesday 19 December to Thursday 27 December - Kate Robinson, Media and Public Relations Manager, on 0408 115 467.
Friday 28 December to Sunday 6 January - Katie Porritt, Media and Public Relations Coordinator, on 0418 445 888.