Nursing education evaluation programs are used to evaluate nursing education, instruction and administration to ensure they all meet standards set by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing. These programs also help determine the effectiveness of training methods, determine the relevance of content to modern nursing practices, and gather information for administrative purposes. Most nursing schools have internal evaluation programs, while state boards of nursing often conduct independent evaluations.
Because the modern nursing practice is ever changing, multi-focused and complex, it is important to evaluate nursing education programs periodically to determine whether the content being taught in schools is consistent with current trends. For instance, information technology such as image storage and transfer has had a huge impact on the delivery of health care. Therefore, updating the nursing curriculum to cover changes in technology can add to the value of graduating nurses.
Evaluation of nursing education helps gauge the effectiveness of educators’ instructional strategies. For example, if an instructor focuses too much on analyzing case studies of clinical situations, rather than balancing it with other strategies such as problem-based learning and role-playing, the evaluation can reveal whether the preferred strategy really enhances students' competencies. The evaluation process might involve interviewing students to gather their views and observing their conduct in real-life hospital situations. If an instructional strategy is ineffective, the evaluators can advise the educator to adopt a more inclusive teaching strategy that produces well-rounded nursing professionals.
When used to measure students’ performance, nursing education evaluation programs can serve as a tool for encouraging learning. For example, if a state board of nursing conducts an evaluation and compiles performance results of all students in the region, underperforming students can use the information as motivation to aim higher. Evaluation programs increase interaction between learners, instructors and administrators, which is integral to improving quality outcomes in nursing. These programs can also be used to diagnose the strengths and weakness of individual students and provide remedial measures.
Another purpose of nursing education evaluation program is to gather information for accreditation purposes. For example, when a nursing school wants to offer a new degree program, it might need to invite an oversight board to conduct an evaluation and gather information to determine whether the institution has sufficient facilities and staff to effectively administer the course to students. A nursing school can also conduct an evaluation program to determine whether students who have completed studies meet graduation requirements.