Skip to main content

Assessment of Clinical Practice Key Components

A comprehensive assessment includes observation, questioning and assessing self-assessment.

Observation of the Learner

Observe the learner performance by:

  • Direct observation of a skill (i.e., procedure, communication, etc.)
  • Review learner charting
  • Listen to learner communicating with patient, family members and staff


  • Ask questions to assess the learner’s knowledge.
  • Questions can assess either basic recall or analysis.
  • Basic recall – memorize/retrieve information; Recall questions are designed to assess BASIC facts, definitions, concepts, principles, procedures, generalizations, and processes.
  • Analysis/synthesis – demonstrate higher degree of cognitive processing; Analysis items/questions represent the highest level of complexity; The learner must demonstrate the ability to synthesize multiple variables beyond simple recall of basic facts.

Examples of questions to assess knowledge:

  • Recall – Which peripheral nerve is decompressed in a carpal tunnel release procedure? Or What is the patient’s last BP and is it in the norm?
  • Analysis/synthesis – How would you compare the various nursing strategies for…..; A client has dependent edema of the ankles and feet and is obese. The nurse should expect the health care provider to order what type of diet?

Examples of questions to assess skills:

  • Simple – Can you show me how to take a BP?
  • Complex – Explain why/how ‘X’ vital sign (or assessment) relates to the patient’s diagnosis/medication; Can you explain how this patient’s blood pressure is affecting their renal function? What assessments will you do? Which labs will you monitor? What interventions can you suggest?

Examples of questions to assess attitudes:

  • What are examples of behaviours that you feel are important for showing respect amongst your peers?
  • How do you deal with a patient with different values then yourself?

Assessing Self-Assessment

Sample questions to assess a learner’s self-assessment:

  • How well do you feel you did with…..?
  • What areas do you feel you could improve on?
  • What areas do you feel you did well?