Thye Peng Ngo, FINE Scholar

By Jill Jansen

As nursing schools across the U.S. explore better ways of teaching and measuring clinical judgement, IU School of Nursing doctoral student Thye Peng Ngo is focused on delving deeper into the science of clinical decision-making and how simulation, particularly virtual reality simulation, can play a role.

“It’s important to make sure that we develop nursing students’ clinical judgment and decision-making before they graduate and transition into practice,” says Ngo, an instructor and simulation coordinator at Glendale Community College in California. “This can be challenging because studies show that students may take up to three years or more to fully develop this skill.”

Ngo is IUSON’s current FINE Scholar. Part of the school’s Faculty Innovating for Nursing Education (FINE) Center, the scholar award is given to doctoral students interested in pursuing careers in nursing education research. With a long history of excellence in nursing education, IU School of Nursing is the first school in the nation to be designated by the National League for Nursing as a Center of Excellence in Nursing Education in two categories: advancing the science of nursing education and promoting the pedagogical expertise of faculty.

“I applied to IU School of Nursing because it’s one of the best schools in the nation for excellence in nursing education,” says Ngo, who completed both a master’s degree in nursing and a post-master’s family nurse practitioner certificate at Western University of Health Sciences in Pomona, California. He found his passion for nursing education early on when he began precepting nursing students while working as cardiac telemetry nurse.

Ngo’s interest in the study of clinical judgement and decision-making is timely. The Next Generation NCLEX, which launches in 2023, will include questions to assess students’ ability to think critically and make the right clinical decisions when providing care.

“Thye’s research will help meet an important need for a more concentrated focus on clinical judgement,” says IU School of Nursing Professor Deanna Reising, PhD, RN, ACNS-BC, FAAN, FNAP, ANEF, who is serving as Ngo’s PhD advisor. “Based on what chief nurses are seeing when graduates transition to practice, they’ve identified clinical judgement as one of the areas that can use more development in nursing schools.”

As a first step, Ngo will conduct a feasibility study to understand where and under what circumstances clinical judgement is occurring. Reising says that although there are tools designed to address clinical judgement, there isn’t a body of knowledge about how students arrive at a particular clinical decision that can be used to inform instructional models, including simulation.

“The science is emerging in the area of clinical judgement, especially around simulation, but what Thye is proposing to do initially is take a step back to really understand the one or two points cognitively where judgement is actually taking place.”

“I’m going to really dive deep into how nursing students make the decision either analytically or intuitively, and then how they can translate that into an action,” Ngo says.Data collection for the feasibility study is scheduled to begin in spring 2022. Findings will help develop a hypothesis for a larger dissertation study. Ngo recently was chosen as one of 13 recipients for the 2021 National League for Nursing Home Instead Scholarship Award. He also was competitively selected for a one-year research program sponsored by the Society for Simulation in Healthcare.