Title of Work

Innovative Approach to Assess Caring in Nursing Skills

Document Type


Publication/Presentation Date

July 2019

Source Publication

Nurse Educator's Conference in the Rockies

Conference Location

Vail, CO


Through presentation, discussion, and small group work; this session will discuss why caring should be measured in lab skills, describe one approach to implementing measurements of caring, and instruct learners how to apply this approach. Caring is an underlying construct forming a basis of what a nurse does each day, a way of being in connection with the patient. When teaching students how to perform a skill, cultivating how to be in caring connection with the patient needs to be emphasized. Actions, words, and behaviors all contribute to the caring connection between a nurse and a patient (Watson, 2015). When a nurse’s work includes the caring connection, one affirms that nursing is more than just a job (Watson, 2015). Not only do caring behaviors need to be taught, these behaviors also need to be included in skill evaluation rubrics to emphasize the importance of caring. Skill evaluation rubrics are used to demonstrate student competence in a skill before performing that skill with a patient. Traditionally, the framework of a skill rubric focuses on the proficiency of the task being evaluated. However, competency in nursing is more than task proficiency. Students are expected to demonstrate a caring demeanor when the skill is performed in a clinical setting. To do so skill competency rubrics need to be framed with a focus on caring. To switch the focus from only skill proficiency to cultivating the caring connection; a change in the evaluation rubric framework is needed. Rather than inserting components of caring into a traditional skill grading rubric, rubrics developed using the Attributes of Caring developed by Roach (2002) as the evaluation criteria should be utilized. The Attributes of Caring identify specific behaviors demonstrated by the nurse when caring for a patient. Roach’s work included six attributes of caring: compassion, competence, confidence, conscience, commitment, and comportment. Additional Attributes of Caring may be used to meet the needs of a program. After establishing the essential steps of the skill which will be measured, each step of the skill being evaluated is assessed and the associated Attribute of Caring is determined. The evaluation rubric is set up with each row headed by an Attribute as the measurement criteria and the associated steps of the skill are used to describe the measures to evaluate successful achievement. By using Attributes of Caring as evaluation criteria, the importance of caring behaviors is demonstrated. Students are taught and evaluated on actions, words, and behaviors which contribute to the caring connection and faculty are given a language for evaluation based on caring. Competency in nursing is emphasized and evaluated by implementing this approach to lab skill evaluation. References Roach, M. S. (2002). Caring, the human mode of being: A blueprint for the health professions (2nd rev. ed.). Ottawa: Canadian Healthcare Association Press. Watson, J. (2015). Jean Watson’s theory of human caring. In M. C. Smith & M. E. Parker (Eds.), Nursing theories & nursing practice (pp. 321-339). Philadelphia, PA: F.A. Davis Company.

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