Comparative study of objective structured clinical examination and traditional practical examination in assessment of nursing students’ clinical competencies in south west Nigeria
Background: Clinical examination is a crucial part of nursing training programmes for assessing nursing student competencies which ultimately lead to the delivery of quality nursing care. Two methods of clinical assessment have been identified: [Traditional Practical Examination (TPE) and Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE)] in nursing and allied professions globally. Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria (N & MCN) previously used TPE for all clinical examinations in nursing. But it adopted the OSCE two decades ago for only midwifery examination while the examination in general nursing still remains TPE. There is dearth of literature on the effectiveness of these two methods hence this study. This will help to determine better method for clinical assessment among nursing students in Nigeria.
Methods: The study utilised one-group quasi experimental design. Two Hospital-based and two University-based nursing schools randomly selected in South-west Nigeria participated in the study. Purposive sampling technique was used to select 187 nursing students out of which 157 participated in the study. T-test was used to analyze the data.
Results: There was a significant difference in the effectiveness of OSCE and TPE in testing clinical competency of nursing students, scores for OSCE (M=64.08, SD=7.66) and TPE (M=59.03, SD=5.11); t(156)= 6.936, p = 0.001 at p≤ 0.005. These results suggested that OSCE is more effective than TPE in testing clinical competency of nursing students.
Conclusion: OSCE effective in assessing student nurses’ clinical competencies better than TPE. It is recommended that OSCE should be adopted as method of practical examination for nursing training programmes in Nigeria.
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