Measuring the Effectiveness of Nursing Education

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

Another challenge: Quantifying evaluations 

An evaluation might ask, "Did the program meet its objectives?" The answer might simply be yes, all of the objectives defined in the program were met. But were they put into practice after the program was over? 

"The hardest part is educating the educators on how to write an outcome," says Guanci. "I would ask for outcomes and I'd see four CPR classes with 22 attendees. That's not an outcome! We have to step back." 

Remember, you can't evoke these kinds of changes alone. It requires the entire department to understand what an outcome really is and hold fast to that belief. 

It might sound cynical, but the truth is just because you told students something doesn't mean you educated them—and just because you trained them doesn't mean they're doing it. 

Don't be afraid to let leadership see and know what the education department is doing. "You are having an effect on patient safety and outcomes in the organization, so claim it," says Guanci.

What are the Four Levels of Evaluation? 

The Four Levels of Evaluation were first published by Donald Kirkpatrick, professor emeritus at the University of Wisconsin in North America and a past president of the American Society for Training and Development, in 1959. 

The four levels of Kirkpatrick's evaluation model essentially measure:

  • Reaction of student: What the student thought and felt about the training
  • Learning: The resulting increase in knowledge or capability 
  • Behavior: Extent of behavior and capability improvement and implementation/application
  • Results: The effects on the business or environment resulting from the trainee's performance

This article was adapted from one that originally appeared in the October 2010 issue of HCPro's Advisor to the ANCC Magnet Recognition Program®, an HCPro, Inc. publication.

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