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Measuring the Effectiveness of Nursing Education

HCPro's Advisor to the ANCC Magnet Recognition Program®, October 12, 2010

She advocates the use of Professor Donald Kirkpatrick's Four Levels of Evaluation. 

Level two looks at what new knowledge has been retained by the student. Guanci felt that pursuing recognition for the results of the department's work is something every education department has to be aware of. "I went this way originally because in times of economic challenge, education departments are often the first to be slashed and burned," she says. "Leadership often doesn't perceive the value the department provides." 

In her department at the time, Guanci was creating an outcomes report every six months—and having a terrible time getting credit for the work the department did. She knew she had to alter the way the department's work was reported. 

Since then, the change has been notable. 

"The process still occurs there," says Guanci. "They've added positions instead of cut them—and [the education department has] really been able to create proof of worth for their department." 

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In her previous organization, the education department felt it had sufficient evidence to show that as a result of foundational education it provided, it was able to assist in a decrease in transcription error rates. 

"Educators have a hard time trying to take credit for things that change in an organization that start with their education," Guanci says. "We know education alone doesn't invoke change. It's a combination of many factors." 

There's a partnership that needs to be formed—educators provide the education, and then managers need to make sure that improved performance occurs following the learning. 

"You're not saying that it's only because of your work, but it was the foundational behaviors leading to future behaviors," says Guanci. 

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