Research Output

What are the criteria that mentors use to make judgements on the clinical performance of student mental health nurses? An exploratory study of the formal written communication at the end of clinical nursing practice modules.

  Issues concerning the assessment of student nurse performance in clinical practice have preoccupied nurse educationalists for some time and continue to pose problems. The debate in the nursing literature tends to revolve around two seemingly mutually exclusive positions related to competence vs. learning outcomes. These are views that seem to be held by academics with little reference to clinical nurses who have responsibility for the assessment of student performance in clinical practice. This paper adds to the wider debate on clinical assessment by reporting on a small research study that explored the written comments that 150 mentors made in relation to the performance of student mental health nurses following periods of clinical practice. An extensive literature review is provided in order to place the debate in context, followed by a brief outline of the research study, its findings, discussion and conclusion. This analysis of findings demonstrates that student learning is of major concern to mentors, and that the assessment of student performance in clinical practice is not restricted by pre-determined behavioural learning outcomes. Personal characteristics of students exert a great influence on judgements about clinical performance. This paper does not offer solutions to the search for the perfect clinical assessment, but it does call for an increased dialogue between educationalists and mentors to discuss the implications of this research for the development of an appropriate clinical assessment tool.

Citation

Brown, N. (2000). What are the criteria that mentors use to make judgements on the clinical performance of student mental health nurses? An exploratory study of the formal written communication at the end of clinical nursing practice modules. Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing. 7, 407-416. doi:10.1046/j.1365-2850.2000.00322.x. ISSN 1351-0126

Authors

Keywords

Clinical assessment ; competencies ; outcomes ; personal qualities

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