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Integration of CENA practice standards for postgraduate emergency nursing assessment

Publication Date
  • 111000 Nursing
  • 130209 Medicine Nursing And Health Curriculum And Pedagogy
  • Cena Practice Standards
  • Emergency Education
  • Clinical Assessment
  • Hern
  • Education


The use of professional competency standards to assess postgraduate nursing student’s clinical performance has been in place since 2004, at the Queensland University of Technology, School of Nursing & Midwifery (SONAM) when the Graduate Certificate in Emergency Nursing degree commenced. Emergency nursing students were assessed in their workplace, using a Clinical Performance Appraisal Tool or CPAT which was based on the Australian College of Critical Care Nurses (ACCCN) Competency Standards. With the subsequent formation of a separate Emergency Nursing Course advisory group in 2007, there was a review of clinical assessment course component. The release of the 2008 CENA revised Practice Standards for the Emergency Nursing Specialist’s, led to the emergency nursing course advisory committee supporting the integration of the CENA practice standards for assessment of emergency nurses in preference to the less relevant ACCCN competency standards. The SONAM emergency nursing study area team commenced the phasing in and progression of the CENA practice standards across the two Graduate Certificate units, and Graduate Diploma and Master of Nursing (emergency) clinical major options in 2009. As some units undertaken in the degree are available to nurses in other disciplines a separate CPAT was devised for the clinical assessments according to speciality context. The team has had to carefully consider how the professional standards are integrated into the teaching and assessment of the unit and not just applied instead of the ACCCN competency standards. Professional standards for the emergency context has also helped tailor course content and learning outcomes to be relevant across a number of emergency nursing contexts in Australia. The assessment of the CPAT is undertaken at the workplace by QUT appointed clinical lecturers. Clinical lecturers need to apply and have suitable postgraduate qualification to undertake the position. The clinical lecturer support role is well established at QUT. The integration of the new CENA practice standards has necessitated a review of the postgraduate assessment of emergency nurses. A clinical lecturer workshop has been organised to review role, scope and how to utilise the new look CENA based CPAT, clinical assessment format.

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