Using Rubrics to Conduct Nursing Clinical Evaluations

November 23, 2016 Christy Terry

Clinical evaluations are an important part of any nursing program. Objective assessments have their place, but clinicals give you the chance to measure knowledge and skills that multiple-choice questions just can’t cover.

In a nursing clinical, you can see how well your students manage with the kind of on-the-spot problem solving they’ll regularly face once they start work in their chosen professions. You get a glimpse of their bedside manner, so you can determine whether they’re learning the people skills required to serve their future patients well.

Nursing requires a lot of the kind of knowledge you can memorize, but being a good nurse involves so much more than that. Nursing clinicals allow you to test all the rest, and ExamSoft’s rubrics make evaluating your students during those clinicals much easier.

How Rubrics Make On-the-Spot Grading Easier

You might think a computer-based testing software might not be the best choice for doing the kind of on-site grading required by clinicals, but rubrics are available on iPads as well as desktops and laptops. Carrying an iPad during a clinical evaluation is easy enough, and you can do some work in advance to make your in-the-moment grading process quick and efficient.

When you create your rubric for the evaluation beforehand, you can outline the specific skills, competencies, and subject areas you’re looking for and write advance notes for yourself on what to look for and grade based on during the clinical itself. That way, when your students are in the midst of completing their clinical evaluations, all you have to do is take notes on how well they’ve performed in the criteria you’ve already clearly outlined.

You can also assign how much each specific criterion is worth in advance, so that grading as you go produces nearly immediate results. Getting fast feedback from clinical evaluations actually improves how well students learn from their assessments. They can see what they did wrong (and right) when the clinical is fresh in their minds, making it easier to understand and analyze their own performance.

How Rubric Use Improves Your Overall Assessment Plan

A final benefit to using rubrics during clinical evaluations is that your assessment results are linked to your overall assessment data for the semester. ExamSoft ensures that the results for each individual assessment can be viewed alongside those for the assessments that came before, and eventually those still to come.

Context makes assessment data far more valuable. You can see if a particular student’s results are abnormal based on his or her usual performance, and you can see if the whole class appears to be struggling with a particular skill or subject area. The data points you toward the best moves to make to better help your students improve as they go.

You already knew clinical evaluations were important and valuable, but with rubrics, the results more easily produce data that’s useful to you and your students on a large scale. They can get more from the clinical on the day of, and you can get more from seeing how the results fit into their overall performance for the semester.

 

 
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