Diagnostic readiness testing, nurse practitioner student workforce readiness, preparation for nurse practitioner certification exams



  1. Coppa, Denise PhD, FNP-C, FAANP (Project Director, Interim Associate Dean and Associate Professor)


Background and purpose: Nurse practitioner (NP) faculties are challenged to offer programs that balance didactic knowledge with the clinical experiences required to prepare graduates for the complexities of health care. Students have the stress of extrapolating the information they obtain during these programs and applying it to postgraduation certification examinations. Innovative educational tools are necessary to ease the uncertainty that NP students experience to graduate and pass certification examinations. Tools include academic-clinical partnerships (ACPs) to enhance clinical opportunities and resources to integrate diagnostic readiness tests (DRTs) into curricula.


Methods: This was a quasi-experimental one group, pretest/posttest design using a convenience sample of NP students randomly assigned to clinical in ACP or non-ACP clinical placements. They completed the DRTs twice during their final program semesters.


Conclusions: The overall DRT group scores for the NP students significantly improved over time. The Wilcoxon signed ranks test showed that the posttest scores were significantly higher than the pretest scores. The Mann-Whitney U test revealed no differences between the ACP and non-ACP students. Students performed the best on assessment, diagnosis, management, and pharmacology domains. This demonstrates support for the integration of DRTs into NP programs.


Implications for practice: Integrating DRTs into NP programs can facilitate transition to the NP role.