The preceptor's role in student evaluation : an investigation : a thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of requirements for the degree Master of Arts in Nursing at Massey University

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Massey University
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The evaluation of nursing students' clinical learning in the preceptorship model of clinical teaching is a shared responsibility between the lecturer and the preceptor in the educational institution where this research took place. The purpose of the study is to explore the preceptor's role in student evaluation. This thesis uses a comparative descriptive design to investigate the similarities and differences between lecturers' and preceptors' valuing of specific clinical evaluation criteria as set out in the clinical evaluation tool. The lecturers' and preceptors' perceptions of the clarity of the clinical evaluation tool are also explored using a qualitative approach. A sample of ten lecturers and seventy preceptors who provide clinical teaching to second year undergraduate nursing students in acute care settings, was drawn to compare if the clinical evaluation criteria were valued differently between the groups. A questionnaire was developed using the clinical evaluation tool used by the educational institution. Data analysis demonstrated more similarities than differences between the criteria selected as most critically important by lecturers and preceptors. Differences were demonstrated on four criteria which were rated more highly by lecturers than preceptors. This suggested that preceptors' evaluations of students' clinical practice pertaining to those criteria would differ from lecturers' expectations of students' practice. A quasi-statistical content analysis of open-ended questions explored lecturers' and preceptors' perceptions of the clarity of the clinical evaluation tool. The influence of preceptors' educational level on the valuing of specific criteria was also explored and was shown to have most influence on preceptors' valuing of cultural safety. Factors which might explain these findings are identified and discussed, namely socialisation of preceptors to work-based values; variability of exposure to the education environment for preceptors; difficulty defining clinical competence and preceptors' level of experience. The study endorses preceptors' involvement in clinical evaluation and highlights future directions for research and development of the preceptor role.
Nursing study, New Zealand, Nursing students, Ability testing, Clinical learning and teaching, Clinical evaluation