The introduction of the Next Generation NCLEX (NGN) in April 2023 marked a significant shift in evaluating the clinical judgment and critical thinking skills of nursing candidates. The National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) initiated this change to advance the quality of nursing assessments. Unlike its predecessor, the NGN focuses on interactive case studies, prompting educators and content developers to move away from standard assessment writing. This shift, while necessary, has not been without its hurdles.
We have learned some valuable lessons in preparing our nursing content experts. Here they are:
Crafting Case Studies: A Specialized Skill
A case study requires more than just knowledge. In fact, the art of developing a case study involves strategic thinking, a skill that may not come naturally to all. We learned that while some educators excel in this area, others may be better suited to creating single-assessment items, which remain a component of the NGN.
Meticulous Planning is Key
Building a case study requires thorough planning. Start by outlining each stage of the patient’s scenario, deciding on the questions to pose, the types of items to incorporate, and the electronic health record (EHR) information needed. This outline becomes a critical guide, particularly if the case study is written over multiple sessions.
Attention to Detail is Paramount
When it comes to educating nursing students, precision matters. In the context of the NGN, this is particularly crucial in constructing the EHR component. It must reflect an accurate portrayal of the patient’s condition, including comorbidities and responses to interventions. Realism is the goal, and getting the details right is non-negotiable.
Collaboration Enhances Quality
In nursing, seeking help is a common practice when faced with uncertainties, and the same applies to writing case studies. Collaborating with colleagues or mentors offers fresh perspectives and valuable feedback that enrich the quality of the case study.
Review and Revise
We constantly advise our students to review their work, and we must follow the same principle. After developing a case study, it’s critical to reassess the scenario for realism, ensure the questions are pertinent, and confirm that the information provided will enable students to respond effectively.
Mastery is a Journey
Becoming adept at authoring case studies is an iterative process. It demands perseverance, attention to detail, an openness to learning, and a willingness to receive and act on feedback.
Embracing these practices not only enhances the creation of NGN content but also sets a standard for the future of nursing education. As educators and content creators adapt to these changes, the ultimate beneficiary is the nursing profession itself, poised to produce practitioners equipped with superior clinical judgment and critical thinking skills.”