Developing student nurses’ evaluative judgement in clinical practice tertiary education: A systematic scoping review of teaching and assessment methods

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Objectives: This review aimed to systematically scope undergraduate or postgraduate tertiary higher education nursing students’ clinical practice teaching and assessment methods to identify features that align with promoting students’ evaluative judgement. 

Introduction: Evaluative judgement is a new concept to nursing tertiary education. Currently, there are no published reviews of evaluative judgement in nursing clinical practice education. This review aims to assist nursing educators to operationalise the concept of evaluative judgement in clinical practice education. As such the starting point was to determine features of evaluative judgement in current clinical teaching and assessment designs. 

Inclusion criteria: Peer reviewed qualitative or quantitative studies that have evaluated teaching and/or assessment of tertiary (university/higher education) pre-registration (undergraduate) or post-registration (postgraduate) nursing students’ clinical practice. 

Methods: The systematic scoping review was prospectively registered systematic review (OSF DOI 10.17605/OSF.IO/PYWZ6) reported using PRISMA guidelines. A systematic search of five databases (Medline, Scopus, Web of Science, ProQuest, CINAHL) was conducted, limited from 1989 onwards and in English. 

Two reviewers independently screened titles and abstracts, then full text, with disagreements resolved with a third independent author. Data were extracted, including the frequency and methods of developing students’ evaluative judgement across the categories of discerning quality, judgement process, calibration and feedback. A narrative synthesis was performed. 

Results: Seventy-one studies were included (n=53 teaching, n=18 assessment). Most of the included studies, included some, but not all, of the features to develop nursing students' evaluative judgment. For teaching methods, the most identified evaluative judgement features in the included studies were discerning quality (n=47), feedback (n=41) and judgement process (n=21). Only three studies included a method of calibration. For the assessment methods, feedback (n=16), discerning quality (n=15), judgement process (n=9) and calibration (n=4) were included. Many clinical practice teaching and assessment methods in nursing included features that develop students’ evaluative judgement, with methods relating to discerning quality and feedback well embedded. Further adjustments are required to include methods to assist students to judge and calibrate their own performance. 

Conclusion: This systematic scoping review identified that evaluative judgement in current nursing clinical teaching and assessment is not an overt aim. With minor adjustment to teaching and assessment design, nursing students could be better supported to develop their ability to judge the value of their own work.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103818
Number of pages18
JournalNurse Education in Practice
Early online date31 Oct 2023
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2023


  • Clinical practice
  • Evaluative judgement
  • Higher education
  • Nursing
  • Systematic review


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