The development of a national framework for the assessment of clinical competency of first year nursing students

Foley, Judith (2019) The development of a national framework for the assessment of clinical competency of first year nursing students.


The desired outcome of this study is to develop and implement a national competence
framework to facilitate the assessment of first year nursing students undertaking the
four year/four and half year degree programme in the four disciplines of Nursing in the
Higher Education Institutions in Republic of Ireland. The four disciplines are General
Nursing, Psychiatric Nursing, Intellectual Disability Nursing and Children’s Nursing. The
total intake of nursing students is 1,683 per year.
The literature associated with the study mainly involves an examination of the concept
of competence and the assessment of competence. The literature further focused on
aspects of learning that impacted on assessment of clinical competence, assessment of
clinical competence learning, theoretical models used to assess competence. In
addition, the literature related to the process of assessment to include the supporting
structures and the components of assessment documentation to include the concept of
reflective practice and the models in use.
Quantitative and qualitative research paradigm are explored. Various research
methodologies are examined and a rationale for choosing action research as the chosen
research strategy is set out. Coghlan and Brannick’s model of action research is applied
through three action research cycles: each involving diagnosing/constructing phase;
planning action phase; taking action phase and evaluating action phase. The sample is
described and related ethical considerations are highlighted along with research
methods and data analysis. The research findings focusing on the views of participants
involved in the assessment of nursing students which informed the final development
of competence assessment framework following by roll out and implementation by all
Higher Education Institutions (HEI’s) and Associated Health Care Providers (AHCP’s).

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