Strategy: Formula for success

Teeter (2005) writes about a formula for addressing unsatisfactory clinical performance. The formula has seven steps.

1. See it early. Look for ‘red flags’ that may include:

  • Lateness on 1st or 2nd day
  • Disappears from clinic/office
  • Hesitates when asked questions
  • Frequently asking for help
  • Unprofessional behaviour
  • Frequently unprepared
  • Is distant
  • Is distracted/unengaged
  • Fumbles with skills
  • Uses the words “I did not know YOU wanted…”

2. Understand the student’s perspective. Be sensitive to the student’s perspective in this situation. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • How would you feel?
  • What would your fears be?
  • How would you see your role?
  • Would you feel abandoned?
  • Would you have felt prepared?
  • Would you have been ware that there was a problem?
  • What would be important to you at this time?

3. Clarify the situation with the student. See Figure 1, page 92 of the Teeter article for examples of questions to ask students.

  • Meet with the student privately
  • Be kind yet objective towards the student
  • Explore the student’s perception of the situation
  • Bring some reality in an objective way (using behavioural not personality issues)

4. Contract with the student for success. The contract should be written by the student using the outline on page 92 of the Teeter article. Make sure you keep a copy of the contract for yourself.

5. Evaluate the student’s progress regularly.

  • Check with the student early so you can make adjustments if necessary
  • Refer to the contract
  • Update the contract when necessary and give the student a copy

6. Summarize the student’s performance. At the end of the contract and/or the semester

  • Be objective use and behavioural actions
  • Include student’s perspectives
  • Determine whether the student has:
    • Changed his/her behaviour and met the clinical objectives
    • Not changed his/her behaviour and is below clinical standards
    • Changed behaviour but is still performing inconsistently

7. Sign the summary. The summary should include a plan for continuing student success.

[1] Teeter, M.M. (2005). Formula for Success: Addressing Unsatisfactory Clinical Performance. Nurse Educator, 30(3): 91-92.