Criteria to evaluate graduate nurse proficiencies in obtaining a health history and perform physical assessment in simulation-based education: A narrative review

Luis Alexandre Costa, Eloise Jane Monger

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Simulation is a technique being used increasingly in healthcare education which offers opportunities to evaluate nursing proficiencies. The use of valid and reliable instruments is recognised as the foundation for a robust assessment, however competency-based health assessment courses for graduate nurses can consequently become reductionist in measuring proficiencies.

The specific review question was: In simulation-based education, what are the criteria that evaluate graduate nursing student’s competence in obtaining a health history and performance of patient assessment?

Eleven studies were included in the review. Papers were critically appraised with The Joanna Briggs Institute quasi-experimental studies checklist. Bloom’s taxonomy was used to structure this narrative review.

Seven papers evaluated cognition through questionnaires and two papers used a Likert-scale to determine self-perceived knowledge. Six papers evaluated psychomotor skills with a behavioural checklist. Diversity of application was factored into the studies when testing affective skills. Three papers used Likert-scales to evaluate preparedness, six papers used Likert-scales to evaluate self-confidence and one used a Likert-scale to evaluate autonomy. Three papers used a checklist to evaluate professionalism. Four papers used faculty member/ standardised patient feedback.

Reductionist evaluation instruments create a barrier when evaluating competency. The limited validity and reliability of assessment instruments in simulation, as well as the lack of standardisation of affective skills assessment, presents a challenge in simulation research. Affective skills encompass attitudes, behaviours and communication abilities, which pose a significant challenge for standardised assessments due to their subjective nature.

This review of the simulation literature highlights a lack of robustness in the evaluation of the affective domain. This paper proposes that simulation assessment instruments should include the standardisation of affective domain proficiencies such as: adaptation to patients’ cognitive function, ability to interpret and synthesise relevant information, ability to demonstrate clinical judgement, readiness to act, recognition of professional limitations and faculty/standardised-simulated patient feedback. The incorporation of the affective domain in standardised assessment instruments is important to ensure comprehensive assessment of simulation particularly in the development of health history and physical assessment proficiencies. Attention to all of the domains in Blooms taxonomy during simulation assessment has the potential to better prepare professionals for the patient care setting.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103984
JournalNurse Education in Practice
Publication statusPublished - 27 Apr 2024

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