1. Why do nurses have a difficult time writing clear, measurable objectives? 2. How can nurses’ skills to write clear objectives be improved?
Nurses may have a difficult time writing clear, measurable objectives because of the lack of education, educational opportunities provided, and follow-up support by educators. Additionally, the goals should be collaborative from the multi-interdisciplinary team (Revello & Fields, 2015). For example, a study was conducted from hospital nurses with conclusions that without the proper education on knowing how to write a SMART objective, nurses will be unable to provide specific, collaborative goals (Revello & Fields, 2015). Results of the study showed 11% preeducation to 63% posteducation after incorporating a 30-minute, mandatory educational program before or after each three 8-hour shifts and later 5-minute afternoon huddle-ups for a month (Revello & Fields). By providing education, accountability, and constructive criticism to the action at that moment, nurses will be able to learn based on experience.
Think about your own family and answer the following question. 1. What are 2 objectives your family would like to reach to enhance the family’s wellness?
2. Identify 2 evaluation methods to measure the client’s (your family) success in meeting the objective.
During these cold days, its easy to fall asleep after eating meals or staying on the couch and watching television. Two objectives for my family would be to incorporate cardio-based activity and increase healthier foods in at least one meal a day. In other words, the SMART objective for my family would include:
Start 30-minute, brisk walking on the treadmill three times a week after dinner for a total of 4 weeks.
Increase vegetable and fruit intake in a meal (lunch or dinner) every day for 4 weeks.
By preparing the foods or deciding what to have the next day, it limits the compulsive decision to eat at restaurants and/or takeout. Evaluating the methods would include accountability and support by family members, marking a calendar of the month when cardio days would be applicable, and a discussion of what the meals should be for tomorrow. A weekly evaluation can also occur in order to discuss what may or may not work for some family members. It may be important to acknowledge personal preferences. For example, some may prefer to have their cardio done in the afternoon and not in the evening. The significance of having a SMART objective is to be successful with realistic goals. Researchers have found that by not reaching the performance goal, it may be interpreted as a failure of ones abilities because it consists of judgment and may no longer encourage the participant to continue (Stibich & Snyder, 2020).
Revello, K., & Fields, W. (2015). An educational intervention to increase nurse adherence in eliciting patient daily goals. Rehabilitation Nursing, 40(5), 320-326. https://doi.org/10.1002/rnj.201
Stibich, M., & Snyder, C. (2020). Set effective health goals using this method and template. Verywell Mind. https://www.verywellmind.com/smart-go
When it comes to writing clear, precise objectives, there should be a clear logic between objectives and the goal the nurse and patient are pursuing (Department of Health: Victorian Health System, 2005). Nurses might have a difficult time writing SMART goals (measurable objectives) because of lack of knowledge and/or lack of needed time to write them. If a nurse is not familiar with how to write clear objectives then it’ll be difficult for them to create them. To improve this, nurses can attend workshops or in-services where they can practice having different patient scenarios and pairing them with SMART goals. The key to being able to write SMART goals is repetition and practice to become more efficient. In addition to lack of knowledge, sometimes there isn’t enough time in the day to sit down and create objectives for each patient. The day just starts out fairly busy and the nurse may forget to set these goals up. To improve this, there can be a time management workshop to help nurses allow time for this important part of patient care whether it’s before the morning medication pass or after.
Two objectives that my family would like to reach to enhance our family’s wellness are –
- The family will improve on cleaning the house to reduce stress by spending 1-2 hours every Sunday designated to cleaning the house for the next 6 weeks.
- To meet my family’s goal of better nutrition, we will eat raw vegetables at lunch and cooked vegetables at dinner every day starting tonight for the next 6 weeks.
There are two types of evaluation methods that can be used to measure the family’s success on completing their objectives and they include: goal-based and process-based evaluations (Pearce, 2020). Goal-based evaluations measure if objectives have been achieved and process-based evaluations analyze strengths and weaknesses (Pearce, 2020). The family can use a journal to record their data and/or a checklist to stay organized on their goals.
Department of Health: Victorian Health System. (2005). Writing measurable objectives. http://www.health.vic.gov.au/regions/southern/downloads/Tip-sheet-writing-measurable-objectives.pdf
Pearce, A., (2020). Funding for good. What are evaluations methods?. https://fundingforgood.org/what-are-evaluation-methods/