P. 1
Competency 1

Competency 1

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Published by: Jucip Hitgano Natividad on Jan 14, 2012
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Taylor (1995) states the word assess is Latin for, to sit beside, and asserts that is

the ideal vantage-point for assessment. Too often, educators and students alike view

assessment as coming down from on high, and from outside the individual. Illustrative of

Taylor’s view, MacIsaac and Jackson (1994) note that self-assessment within a portfolio

framework allows the learner to examine past work and to reflect upon and evaluate their

growth and development. Reviewing past work allows learners to judge the quality of


their work. This forms the foundation for the pre-service professional to appreciate that

they are responsible for their own learning.

The value and role of self-assessment are supported in Purdy’s (1997) work. He

states that nurse education has two ends: individual professional development and

professional selection. These roughly correspond to the private need for individualized

professional growth and the public need for competent professionals. Legislation

governing nursing jurisdictions in the United Kingdom pressures educators to focus on

the mandate of professional selection, based primarily on criterion-referenced measures

to the detriment of personal growth and self-assessment. However, once the nurse has

graduated and obtained a license to practice, self-assessment becomes an expectation of

the practitioner, yet schools of nursing do not provide the necessary foundation for this

skill. Purdy notes that personal growth is pivotal to the role of the nurse and includes

critical reflection.

Crawford and Kiger (1998) query what nurses should reflect upon if they are to

assess themselves. Clarke et al. (1994) provide the answer. Four areas to reflect upon are:

technical features of practice; practical aspects of practice; the social, political, and

economic contexts of practice; and the knowledge of the nurse's individual self.

Reflecting on technical features of practice (e.g., medications, equipment,

management) improves efficiency and effectiveness. Practical aspects of practice

encompass the life-world of nursing. They are the norms, roles, and routines that affect

the work of nurses. When reflecting on this area, nurses consider the appropriateness of

an action. Reflection on the social, economic, and political features of practice include

how healthcare funding affects nurses’ practice; financial constraints and changes in


healthcare policy are two examples. Reflection in this third area is emancipatory,

liberating, and transformational on a macro or societal level. Finally, the fourth area is

self-knowledge. What does the practitioner bring to the practice of nursing? The

autobiographical portion of a portfolio is an example noted by Farley Serembus (2000).

Further emancipation may result through individual development, empowerment, and

autonomy on a micro (personal) level.

Gerrish (1993) found that student nurse-educators who kept reflective diaries

viewed themselves as benefiting by honing their ability to assess their needs and their

progress and to analyze and evaluate their experience. They believe they gained the skill

of being aware of learning as it occurred. This exemplifies Taylor’s (1995) notion of

being beside one’s self, watching.

One of the advantages of self-assessment is the development of reflective skills.

Participants in Scheppner Wenzel et al.’s (1998) study similarly found that reflection

fostered self-assessment. Carried out within the context of a portfolio, they posit that this

tracking promotes lifelong learning. Priest and Roberts' (1998) findings are similar. The

portfolio is a vehicle for reflection and allows for continuous self-assessment while

providing evidence of professional growth. This in turn creates a foundation for a lifelong

approach to maintaining and measuring competence.

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