Practical Nursing

Assessing student learning

The practical nursing and health occupations program has a new focus in assessing student learning in light of a new curriculum mandated by the Kansas Board of Regents. The Regents’ goal was to align all practical nursing (PN) programs across Kansas to a core curriculum for all students that would provide college credit and make articulation across programs easier. The new core curriculum was implemented in fall 2009. JCCC faculty were interested in the effect it would have on students, particularly because a math prerequisite had been deleted.

Practical nursing faculty focused on one of JCCC’s specified student learning outcomes – processing numeric, symbolic and graphic information. For example, the ability to perform dosage calculations correctly, which is a numeric function, requires the student to be able to process information presented in metric and apothecary systems of measurements. According Anne Schmidt, professor, said that some of the data examined includes scores on a basic math exam and the medical math exam, final grades in select courses, grade point average and Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS) reading and math scores.

The practical nursing faculty used the results to develop strategies to help students succeed in the program, such as collaborating with the Math Resource Center and the formation of faculty-directed math study groups and sessions. This also affected curriculum in that they included calculation programs as part of each PN exam and dosage calculations as a part of each clinical experience that involves medication administration.

Faculty also developed a study based on the specified student learning outcome of reading, analyzing and synthesizing written and visual material. They collected objective data from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment test to develop strategies to promote success for students in the certified nurse aide class.

The outcome for the practical nursing and health occupations program: Using assessment results to improve student learning and student success leads to improved curriculum.