Calling all website designers, techies, software developers, database managers and educators with connections. This is a call for help, referrals and advice. I have been assigned what seems like a huge task and I am not quite sure where to start! My task is to develop an online tracking system to give students and educators a more meaningful way to use clinical evaluations. I have been told that other Schools of Nursing have developed their own similar tracking systems so it is an achievable goal. Commercial systems exist but are too costly (and advanced) for our needs.
Clinical education is a cornerstone of nursing. It is where a lot of students learn how to nurse best. They get to apply theory and skills learnt in class in a real world setting – with real patients. They work closely with other students and nurses in small groups. As educators we need to make the best use of these valuable learning opportunities that we can. Students need consistent, timely, constructive feedback from clinical instructors. Access to such feedback helps the student improve and keeps clients safe in rare situations where students demonstrate problematic behaviors.
For years it has been a struggle to maintain continuity between clinical placements. Some placements are only 6 weeks. By the time student weaknesses (or growing edges) are identified it is often too late to remediate them. We develop learning contracts but they are often not communicated well or at all to the next clinical instructor. Students may be given feedback but report being shocked when it comes to the mid-term or final evaluation and they are being told that they are not going to be successful.
Outdated, paper-based evaluations are a major source of this struggle. We need a better way to track student skills, competencies and evaluations. That is why I have been given this project.
The online system needs to be able to
- Track skills/competencies that students have demonstrated in the clinical setting.
- Allow for text-based notes on student performance.
- House clinical evaluations (likert scale and text based)
Faculty (teaching theory courses) need to be able to log in and access all student records. Student records need to be searchable by student name, skills and weaknesses.
Clinical educators need to be able to log in and see only their students. They need to be able to make notes on each student as often as they want, ideally every shift. At mid-term and final evaluation time they need to fill out the evaluation forms that consist of a series of likert scale ratings of student performance supported by text based notes.
Students need to be able to log in and see only the things under their own name (skills checklist, notes and evaluations.
Note: There are others that want me to take student tracking further and add on more things to track (assignment progress, bumping of grades etc.), but I am focusing on clinical evaluations for now.
Any help or ideas would be really appreciated as I am not sure where to start.