Comparison of post graduate emergency nursing students and nurse educators formative and summative clinical appraisal assessments for patients requiring multi-system care

Ms Rachel Cross1, Dr Charne  Miller1, Dr Julia Morphet2,3

1La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia, 2Nursing and Midwifery, Monash University , , , 3Monash Emergency Research Collaborative, Monash Health, ,

Background: Undertaking post graduate emergency nursing studies contributes to professional and personal advancement. Higher degree studies also strengthen the emergency nursing workforce and contribute to the provision of specialist patient care. Formative and summative assessments in post graduate study are important for student learning. These appraisals enable self-reflection and feedback which in turn influence and enhance student learning.

Aim: The study aim was to compare the formative and summative appraisal assessments between post graduate emergency nursing students and clinical nurse educators.

Method: A retrospective review of assessments completed by both post graduate student and educator in the final multi-system complex post graduate subject was undertaken. Data from both student and educator formative and summative assessments were extracted from university student records. Data for the two appraisal periods were compared using non-parametric tests in SPSS.

Results: Data on 52 emergency nursing students were extracted. Significant differences were detected between most students and educator ratings for both assessment appraisals. Areas where students provided the lowest rating of independence at the summative assessment included ‘critiquing research and considering translation’ (18.4%), analysing and interpreting assessment data accurately (24.5%), and provides effective and timely direction and supervision (29.2%). Educators concurred with these student ratings areas but also regarded ‘responding effectively to change’ and ‘delegates care approximately’ (both 66.7%) as requiring improvement. Students and educators agreed that students were performing independently on domains relating to legal, professional and ethical frameworks.

Conclusion: Post graduate emergency nursing study is important for the emergency nursing workforce. Examining student learning and educator assessment in this context enables a broader understanding of student learning and transition to emergency nursing specialty practice.


Rachel Cross is a Lecturer for La Trobe University in Melbourne. Rachel’s professional career consists of clinical nursing positions in emergency departments both within Victoria and internationally in the United Kingdom. Rachel has also held Nursing Education positions. Alongside her current academic position Rachel also works as an emergency and trauma nurse in a large metropolitan hospital in Victoria. Rachel is also currently undertaking her PhD examining the transition of patient care from the emergency department to the ward with a specific focus on clinical deterioration and clinical handover.