Connors State Nursing Program Uses EAQ to Sharpen Students’ Clinical Judgment Skills

Happy students taking notes in class

At-A-Glance Facts

Connors State College Department of Nursing, located in Warner, Oklahoma, offers a Traditional Associate Degree program and a Career Ladder Advisement program for LPNs and paramedics. The program is accredited by the Oklahoma Board of Nursing and ACEN and is a member of the National League for Nursing.

Connors State College’s Interim Division Chair for Nursing and Allied Health, Sandra Watson, MS, FNP-C, APRN, explains how Elsevier Adaptive Quizzing allows her students to sharpen their critical thinking and clinical judgment skills to ensure they’re practice ready.

You can hear the pride in Sandra Scott Watson’s voice as she reads text messages from her students.

“Passed my neuro exam with an 86!” one student exclaimed. “I think half the class really, really struggled. [To prepare] I did 1,700 adaptive quizzing questions – whatever it takes. Got to be willing to make the sacrifices!”

“I’ve been studying all night. Another student told me doing 2,000 adaptive quizzing questions was a waste of time. I said, ‘well I think several of these questions may be on our exam.’ and that’s about how many questions I passed by!”

And the messages go on.

For Sandra Scott Watson, MS, FNP-C, APRN, Interim Division Chair for Nursing and Allied Health at Connors State College, sharpening her students’ critical thinking and clinical judgment skills is of the upmost importance to ensure they’re ready to practice.

“When NCSBN is surveying these new graduates… what they’re working on is more and more complex, so we know the NCLEX is getting tougher,” Watson said. “There’s a need for our students to have a greater level of critical thinking and clinical judgment, so we are trying to utilize more of the time in and out of class to sharpen those key skills.”

Watson goes on to explain, “research supports that the more students simulate these NCLEX-type questions, the more they practice applying what they know, and the more successful they’re going to be. That’s why we implemented adaptive quizzing in our major textbooks – med-surg, OB, and peds.”

Connors State’s nursing program requires students to start using Elsevier Adaptive Quizzing (EAQ) in the first semester; however, the tool is emphasized most in the second and fourth semesters. Faculty begin by assigning a small number of quizzes to introduce test-taking skills and NCLEX-style questions. By the second semester, EAQ assignments are increased to help students progress through some of the more difficult parts of the curriculum.

“When we introduce med-surg, OB, and peds in the second semester, students start to struggle, and attrition becomes an issue,” Watson explained. “To help, we implemented adaptive quizzing and require the students complete a certain number of questions.”

In third semester, EAQs are encouraged but not mandatory. In fourth semester, EAQ is again required and students must complete a required number of questions as they approach the NCLEX.

“We do a ticket to test, so they have a certain number of questions assigned to them,” Watson said. “They can choose the topic of the questions assigned to them but, of course, they usually choose what we’re studying. We take it very seriously and we feel like, overall, it’s really helped our students improve their test-taking, exam scores, critical thinking, and clinical judgment.”

While EAQ is fully implemented in the program now, Watson explained it took time to gain faculty buy-in. However, once faculty started seeing results, that was all the motivation they needed to use the tool. Connors State’s NCLEX pass rate has remained between 98-100% the past several years.

“Initially, we wondered if it was worth having to learn to use one more thing.” Watson said. “With adaptive quizzing, we feel like it was definitely worth it.”

Advice for Faculty

Watson encourages faculty to use EAQ. “You just have to jump in there and don’t be afraid to reach out to Elsevier. You’ve got lots of support, so you might as well use it!”

Interested in adding adaptive learning tools to your curriculum? Get started with peer-to-peer advice, strategies, and tips from leading expert educators in our Adaptive Learning Guide here.