Assessing clinical competency is essential for knowing whether healthcare staff members are able to provide care that leads to positive outcomes. In our article excerpted here, “Using Artificial Intelligence to Assess Critical Thinking for Healthcare,” HealthStream’s Joe Caracci, MBA, BSN, RN; AVP, Clinical Assessments writes about technology-based tools that go further to help healthcare organizations ensure clinicians are prepared to provide great care.
Competence Determines Care Success
The most important contributor to nurses’ success in achieving better outcomes in healthcare has to be their competence as members of the clinical workforce. What is competency? An easily understood definition is “the ability of a provider to administer safe and reliable care on a consistent basis” (Miller-Keane Encyclopedia, 2003). At the heart of our Clinical Development System is competency development. We say that our solution works “from hire to retire”— it assesses new nurses and provides personalized development plans based on their strengths and opportunities, as well as comparisons to national benchmarks. It also determines what an individual needs from orientation, to specialty transitions and annual maintenance of competence through a clinician’s 35 year career. For example, during my nursing tenure, I went from pediatric oncology to adult critical care. When the focus of my work changed from caring for children to critically ill adults, there was much I needed to understand about the critically ill adult that was very different from the pediatric oncology that had been my specialty.
The Components of Competency
To understand the role artificial intelligence (AI) can contribute to achieving competency, you first have to know what creates this valuable attribute. The four components of competency are knowledge, skills, attitude/behavioral fit, and critical thinking/clinical judgment. Measuring and improving the first three of these components does not require the use of AI. Rather, HealthStream has incorporated powerful assessments that measure knowledge, skills, and attitude, and we have created a broad taxonomy that links our learning and training to individual staff deficits that are identified through the assessment process. How do we assess these three areas of clinical practice before we turn to measuring critical thinking?
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