Program Evaluation of Using the 'Real World' Experience of Role Transition to Refine Curriculum

Baiardi, Janet, Patricia Rouen, and Carla Groh

Program evaluation data is critical to continuous quality improvement in educational programs. NP program evaluation data is traditionally collected by conventional survey methodology at the conclusion of the program. This self report data reflects student perceptions and satisfaction regarding the quality of faculty, courses and clinical experiences, student services, and physical resources to achieve terminal program objectives.

In the first year of professional practice, we observed graduates seeking continued mentoring from faculty on a wide variety of issues. This prompted graduate faculty to reconsider the timing and methodology of program evaluation in the interest of obtaining more sensitive and specific data. A focus group with previous graduates was piloted as a program evaluation strategy. This presentation discusses the findings and implications of this novel approach.

Program alumni from 1-3 years post graduation were invited to discuss issues of professional practice, role transition and curriculum. The qualitative data from this program evaluation strategy provided opportunity for curriculum refinement. For example, issues related to reimbursement and scope of practice, have been integrated earlier in the clinical sequence. Additional strategies, such as reflective analysis of professional practice behaviors from observations of NP providers, and participation in professional networking opportunities have also been incorporated to build connections prior to graduation. The data also provided insight into the importance of the faculty-student role relationship which may be unique to NP programs.