Using successful graduates to improve the quality of undergraduate nursing programs

Geoff Scott, Esther Chang, Leonid Grebennikov


This paper outlines the context and focus of the late 2008 survey of 45 early career nursing graduates working in public hospitals in an outer-urban area of Sydney who were identified by their supervisors as performing successfully. It gives an overview of the key quantitative and qualitative results for 2008 compared with the results of earlier studies of successfully performing nurses and other professionals in the first 3-5 years of their career. Based on this analysis it makes a range of recommendations on how to optimise the quality and relevance of the learning design, support and assessment systems experienced by undergraduate nursing students.
The study confirms that, in addition to possessing a high level of technical competence, it is a particular combination of personal, interpersonal and cognitive capabilities which characterises the most effective performers. The most productive approaches to developing these capabilities focus on: consistent two-way links between theory and practice; the availability of responsive, committed academic staff with current clinical experience; provision of clear direction and integration between different units of study; the systematic use of case-based learning, simulations, clinical placements and associated assessment tasks which are a "real world" focused, integrated and problem-based, and which concentrate on the key capabilities identified as counting most for successful early career practice in this and parallel studies.


competencies; capabilities; surveying; successful; graduates; quality; learning; design

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License | ISSN 1838-3815