Background: The Registered Nurse role requires competency of the affective domain;
demonstrated by the ability to listen, respond to interactions, demonstrate appropriate attitudes, and display commitment. There is a paucity of research exploring the evaluation of student nurses’ competency in this domain.
Aim: To explore how clinical nursing instructors evaluate students’ affective competency.
Methods: 12 instructors from a large urban university were interviewed and data was analyzed using qualitative interpretive description methodology.
Findings: Affective competency is highly valued in nursing, lacks consensus in definition, exists in a hidden curriculum, and is assessed through observation, dialogue and reflective writing. Explicit connections between assessment and evaluation are lacking.
Discussion: Clinical nurse instructors are gatekeepers to the nursing profession. Affective competency is observed rather than evaluated, and an ontological turn in nurse education might change the motivation for affective evaluation; away from competency and toward being a nurse. Word Limit: