1. Hamner, Jenny B. DSN, RN
  2. Bentley, Regina W. MSN, RN


Systematic assessment and evaluation of program outcomes results in program improvement. The authors discuss the evaluation of educational effectiveness standard components of critical thinking, therapeutic nursing intervention and communication and mechanisms that insure faculty participation in evaluation.


A systematic evaluation plan that is realistic, philosophically driven, and focused on data of interest to faculty, employers, and students results in program improvement! 1-4 The National League for Nursing Accreditation Commission (NLNAC) incorporated assessment of program outcomes in their accreditation standards in 1990. 5 Nursing has always recognized the need for evaluating the performance of students and graduates. However, before the inclusion of outcome assessment in accreditation standards by the NLNAC, and later the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, faculty used varied approaches to assessing and evaluating their programs, often focusing on licensing examination results.


Prior to an accreditation visit in the late-1990s, faculty in our program were certainly interested in student outcomes and program improvement. Students were evaluated at different levels throughout our program and at graduation. However, evaluation procedures by individual faculty were often informal. Faculty had the general perception that formal evaluation was something best left to the evaluation committee. Recommendations from the accreditation visitors made it clear that we had to rethink assessment and evaluation procedures. A written, systematic evaluation plan that addressed all standards for accreditation was developed and implemented. This discussion focuses on Standard VI of the NLNAC educational effectiveness required outcomes, specifically, the components of critical thinking, communication and therapeutic interventions. 6