From the staff development bookshelf: Tools to validate competence

Staff Development Weekly: Insight on Evidence-Based Practice in Education, April 22, 2011

Competency checklists are one way of validating competence, but there are many methods for assessing competency.

Post-tests: Post-tests are one method to document cognitive knowledge and are sometimes used to document competence. Specifically, a post-test can be used to document basic knowledge so participants don't have to take a course or program when they can show they already have the basic knowledge required in that course (which would be measured afterwards by the post-test.)

Case studies: Case studies can be used to validate competence. In this format, individuals describe how they would provide education for a specific student or how they would deal with a particular scenario presented to them.

Simulated events: These events, such as mock codes, can be used to validate competency. For example, set up a room with a simulated patient who needs cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Or set up a room that has numerous breaks in infection control practices and have participants identify all the things that are not correct.

Observation of daily work:
This method of validating competence is often used in performance evaluations and with peer review or 360-degree evaluations. The use of different sources of information and different measures to evaluate competence increases validity.

Source: Book excerpt adapted from Competencies for Staff Educators: Tools to Evaluate and Enhance Nursing Professional Development by Barbara A. Brunt, MA, MN, RN-BC.

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