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Safety in numbers 5 : evaluation of computer-based authentic assessment and high fidelity simulated OSCE environments as a framework for articulating a point of registration medication dosage calculation benchmark

Sabin, M. and Weeks, K. and Rowe, David and Hutton, M. and Coben, D. and Hall, C. and Woolley, Norman (2013) Safety in numbers 5 : evaluation of computer-based authentic assessment and high fidelity simulated OSCE environments as a framework for articulating a point of registration medication dosage calculation benchmark. Nurse Education in Practice, 13 (2). e55-e65. ISSN 1471-5953

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Abstract

This paper reports a key educational initiative undertaken by NHS Education for Scotland (NES), based upon recommendations from a ‘Numeracy in Healthcare’ consultation. We report here the design of a web-based technical measurement authentic assessment environment evolved from the safeMedicate suite of programs that provided a model for an environment within which a medication dosage calculation problem-solving (MDC-PS) benchmark could be articulated. A sample of 63 third-year pre-registration nursing students was recruited from four participating universities in the UK. A counterbalanced design was employed where the virtual authentic assessment environment was evaluated for internal consistency reliability and criterion-related validity against an objective structured clinical assessment (OSCE) undertaken in high-fidelity simulated clinical environments. Outcome measures indicated an extremely high internal consistency of the web-based environment. It was concluded that the combination of a web-based authentic assessment environment and further assessment of safe technical measurement interpretation and dexterity in a practice/practice simulation setting, populated with a benchmark and a criterion referenced rubric validated by the profession, is an innovative, viable, valid and reliable assessment method for the safe administration of medicines. As a result, the rubric for assessment of the appropriate range of calculation type and complexity informed the NMC’s revised Essential Skills Clusters for Medicines Management (NMC, 2010a; NMC, 2010b). This inclusion provides a particularly strong example of both research directly influencing policy and of evidence-based regulation.