Graduate nursing program uses new assessment tool

The NIU School of Nursing has implemented the Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) to assess clinical skill proficiency for its Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) students.

The OSCE involves hired actors who are trained to provide specific physical indications and information for the student to assess. They then also provided feedback concerning their treatment as a patient. While this approach has been used widely for doctors’ training for decades, this approach is now being used more frequently in advanced nursing education as well. Using OSCEs can foster a deeper learning and encourage more meaningful reflection.

NIU’s FNP students were administered OSCEs in a simulated exam room while a faculty member watched, listened and recorded the session via computer in another room. Once the exam was completed, students received feedback from the patient and the faculty member. NIU’s graduate nursing program now includes a Family Nurse Practitioner track, a nurse educator track and a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program.

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