Comparison of postgraduate student and educator appraisals: A retrospective analysis

The research provides an insight into variations between student and nurse educator expectations and interpretations within critical care nurse training where the domains of general codes of professional conduct meet specialty nursing.

Key Areas:

  • Investigated postgraduate student and educator formative and summative appraisals.
  • Student strengths involved therapeutic relationships and inter-professional collaborations.
  • Collaborative and therapeutic practice and professional practice were largely independent.
  • Development occurred as educator ratings of independence increased from formative to summative.
  • Highlights the need for critical thinking, synthesis of data, and translation of research.


The aim of this study was to describe performance by postgraduate students on areas of clinical and professional conduct as identified in the Registered nurse standards for practice and to compare postgraduate student and educator clinical appraisals at formative and summative assessments. This article explored the professional standards for nursing and how additional nursing expectations by critical care organisations may make this difficult to understand and standardise the actual level of expectations from the postgraduate nurse, educator, manager, higher education and wider nursing organisations.

“The speciality areas that are incorporated into postgraduate education need to align the required needs identified by regulatory and peak bodies with the actual learning needs of these adult learners.”


“The domains of collaborative and therapeutic practice and professional practice indicated student performance that was largely independent from the perspective of both the student and educator. The identification of support to progress in the provision and coordination of care elements emphasise the need for critical thinking, synthesis of data, and knowledge of research methods and translation. For safe and quality health systems this information on good clinical practice for effective health care, and optimal health outcomes for the users of these health services is important to understand.”

Some Unknowns

Is there a best method of assessment? During the literature review, it does seem to depend on task or preference of say the higher education setting you can have a ‘for’ and ‘against’ everything. Keep it authentic seems to be the best advice.

Do all the players really agree on the exact expectations on clinical practice domains? The simple way to solve this is to bring a checklist competency for every single task, the problem for doing this would be the task of doing this for every single task, procedure, equipment – who has the time and resources? It also becomes a tick box method of assessment, not emebedded in critical thinking.


Please feel free to add critical comments in regards to this paper, this post may be seen as gratuitous self advertisement anyhow!


Ross et al. (2017) Comparison of postgraduate student and educator appraisals: A retrospective analysis. Nursing Education in Practice. Volume 23, March 2017, Pages 82–91