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Using the principles of realistic evaluation approach in nurse education

Stavropoulou Areti

Background: Literature reflects a continuous effort to design and implement a variety of evaluation processes in nurse education. However, various implications regarding the implementation of evaluation to practice were yield. Mixed methods were appraised for their ability to create comprehensive evaluation designs. These advancements led to a shift towards realistic exploration of phenomena in the field of educational evaluation. Aim: The aim of the present study was to highlight the benefits of using the principles of realistic evaluation in nurse education. Method and material: The method of the study was an evaluation strategy that consisted of two phases. The first phase focused on the utilisation of traditional approaches to evaluation. The second phase focused on holistic elements, such as context, culture, values and experiences. Data were gathered through, document analysis, fieldwork, observation, reflection and interviewing. Results : Traditional approaches to evaluation provide some useful results, but in most of the cases fail to provide complete answers to important evaluation questions. Applying the principles of realistic evaluation appeared to be a valuable source of evaluation in nurse education. Holistic elements of the educational process such as context, culture, experience, participants’ personal attributes and values were highlighted as critical components for the development and implementation of educational programmes. Conclusion: Flexibility and synthesis of methods appraised for their important service to the field of evaluation. Evaluation in educational contexts encompasses energetic and living components. Thus, evaluation in these sett ings should be dynamic representing the complex nature of reality.