clinical practical exams

  1. I'm curious as to how other nursing programs assess competency of skills. We have clinical practical exams (CPEs) at the end of each semester in which we are given 3 skills (always 1 sterile) to perform for an instructor in the practice lab. If you make a mistake, you can repeat the exam (the missed skill + 3 new ones), but if you fail the second attempt, then you fail the entire nursing course for the semester. This is incredibly nerve wracking! We just had these exams this week and I passed-YAY! Do all programs do this?
  2. 5 Comments

  3. by   angelaADSN
    Our nursing program teaches us specific skill in the semester. For example last semester we did IV insertion, NG tube insertion, and tube feeding. Then we perform it on a dummy and they grade us. If we miss a step it is an automatic 77 which is a D.We have to do it a second time but we still have to keep the 77. However as each semester starts we don't get re-tested on those skills for competency. I guess they look at it as we already know it and performed it many times with our instructors present. Good luck!
  4. by   melgan
    Our program also has CPEs, but we have one at midterm as well as at the end of the semester. If you fail once, you're allowed to retake it at the end of the semester, if you fail a second time, you fail the course. (Basically - you have to pass two out of a possible three). We're tested on three criteria within a 45 minute period, which includes filling out a nursing process form. Our exams aren't perormed in a lab however, ours are performed in the hospital, with our clinical advisor, on an actual patient! We just had our first round, and they were pretty nerveracking! I was thrilled to pass. Congrats on passing your first exam.
  5. by   janine3&5
    Okay, now I don't feel we have it so bad- twice a semester on actual patients? It's not that the skills are hard, just the pressure to do it perfectly, while answering questions about it! What a relief to have them over with. (Actually, it wasn't my first CPE, but the last one I'll ever have to do-thank god!)
  6. by   NurseKrissy
    At my school we learn a skill every week and then the following week we are checked off on it. If you fail, you have to redo it.
  7. by   Michelle_nurse
    At my school, we start out learning the simple things, like hygiene etc. and we have 1 day a week in clinical.

    2nd semester, we are in surgery. We have 2 observation days in the OR, and the rest of the clinical time (2 days a week) is on a post op floor. 2nd semester is where we learned dressings, IV regulation, injections, etc.
    3rd is OBS/peds: we learned NG, TF's etc.(can't remember the rest)
    4th we were in cardiology, we learned chest tubes, ostomy's, suctioning etc
    5th: psych/geriatrics...????

    now in 6th, we learned to take bld, start IV's etc.

    When we are in clinical we are responsible for whatever we learned in the lab. We learn and practice skills in the lab on dummies or on each other, but we are not formally evaluated on this.
    We have had written tests and papers in each semester.
    there are about 4 groups of 7 in my class. Each group has a clinical teacher who is responsible for us. She decides if we pass or fail, based on her observations. In that case you have to re do the semester, despite the academic grade.
    Some of the teachers are pretty tough!!!

clinical practical exams