L. De Villiers

King Saud bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences (SAUDI ARABIA)
Comprehensive programme evaluation includes outcome evaluation to determine whether the intended programme outcomes of an educational programme have been achieved. Results are useful to determine the strengths and weaknesses of the programme and to serve as a basis for evidence-based decisions during curriculum review.

The King Saud bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences, College of Nursing Jeddah offers a Bachelor of Nursing programme. The Quality Assurance Unit conducted a descriptive-comparative study to determine the extent to which the programme outcomes for higher education, as specified in the Saudi Arabian National Qualifications Framework, had been achieved. The purpose was to describe and compare the perspectives of the graduate interns and their preceptors; six months after the interns had entered the internship programme at the teaching hospital of the University.

Identical structured questionnaires comprising a 5-point Likert scale were distributed among all the interns and their preceptors. The items were derived from the Saudi Arabian National Qualifications Framework programme outcomes. Descriptive and inferential statistics were calculated to determine central tendencies and dispersion. The survey and item mean scores of the preceptors and interns were compared using the Independent Sample T-test and the Mann Whitney U-test respectively. Qualitative content analysis was conducted involving the responses to three open-ended questions. The latter questions elicited further information about the strengths and weaknesses of the programme, and suggestions for improvement.

The quantitative results revealed that the required standards concerning outcome achievement have been achieved. The interns tended to rate several of their abilities significantly higher than the preceptors. Both groups qualitatively described the professional-ethical, cognitive and meta-cognitive abilities which the interns had acquired. The interns identified various inadequately acquired clinical, professional and social skills. The preceptors identified several personal and cognitive limitations in the interns.

It is recommended that the curriculum should be strengthened to place more emphasis on the identified problem areas to ensure that graduates meet the needs of employing health services, which aim to meet the health care needs of the Saudi population.