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Practical Implications of Pre-employment Nurse Assessments

Kuthy, James E. PhD; Ramon, Cheree BA; Gonzalez, Ronald MS, RN; Biddle, Dan A. PhD

doi: 10.1097/HCM.0b013e31828ef687

Hiring nurses is a difficult task that can have serious repercussions for medical facilities. If nurses without proper skills are hired, patients can suffer from insufficient quality of care and potentially life-threatening conditions. Nurse applicants’ technical knowledge is extremely important to avoid negative outcomes; however, there are soft skills that factor into their success, such as bedside manner, personality, communication, and decision making. In order for medical facilities to select and maintain high-performing nurse staff, hiring managers must incorporate evaluations for these types of skills in their hiring process. The current study focused on using content/criterion-related validation design to create assessments by which nurse applicants can be evaluated for both technical knowledge/skills and soft skills. The study included participation of more than 876 nursing staff members. To rank applicants on divergent skills, 3 assessment types were investigated, resulting in the creation of an assessment with 3 components. The clinical, situational, and behavioral components that were created measure applicants’ job knowledge, interpersonal competency in medical facility–related situations, and aspects of personality and behavior, respectively. Results indicate that using the assessment can predict 45% of a nurse applicant’s future job performance. Practical implications include hiring and maintaining a higher quality of nurses and decreased hiring costs.

Author Affiliations: Biddle Consulting Group, Inc, Folsom, California (Drs Kuthy and Biddle and Ms Ramon); and Prophecy Healthcare Greensboro, North Carolina (Mr Gonzalez).

Funding for this study was provided by private companies involved and the donation of time from participating hospital staff.

Dr Kuthy, Ms Ramon, and Dr Biddle are currently employed by Biddle Consulting Group, Inc, which assisted in the development of the situational assessment test examined in the present study. Mr Gonzalez is currently the chief executive officer of Prophecy Healthcare, Inc, which created the clinical assessments examined in the present study and played a primary role in the creation of the situational assessment.

Corresponding: James E. Kuthy, PhD, 193 Blue Ravine Rd, Suite 270, Folsom, CA 95630 (

© 2013 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins