Next Gen Tips and Tricks


These resources are made possible through OADN’s ongoing collaboration with NurseThink®, leading the way in Next Gen Teaching and Testing. Learn More. Need a Next Gen Tip and Trick? You’ll find one here. Be sure to check back for updates!




7. Cue Clusters

Cue Clusters allow students to associate information that is related and more deeply analyze cues. By providing cue ‘prompts,’ you can evaluate how your students make connections, strengthening their ability to apply clinical judgment.



6. Adding CJ to Clinical Paperwork

Clinical is the optimal experience for applying clinical judgment and decision-making, yet often students are excluded from the decisions that are being made. In order to build these skills, students need to consciously and repetitively think through the application of clinical judgment. Here is a suggestion on how to make your clinician paperwork more meaningful in developing thinking.



5. Add Context!

Layer 4 of the NCSBN CJMM, reinforces the importance of Environmental and Individual Factors in clinical judgment and decision making.  This short video gives you five tips for adding context to your teaching activities to better prepare your students for practice. (Added 9/16/2021)



4. What-if Cue Cards
Curveballs, cue cards, what-if cards, etc., are a great way to stimulate on-the-fly, deeper thinking, clinical judgment decisions in your students,  As students are in the lab or clinical and appear to lack engagement, hand them a What-if Cue Card. This index card has an assessment change, situation, or cue that may or may not require the nurse to act. These cards are easy to make or checkout NurseThink® for Nurse Educators: Lab Coat Notes for Teaching Clinical for purchase.

Here are some examples –

  • Your client’s NG tube was removed yesterday, and now feels nauseated. What will you do next?
  • You are performing a dressing change on an abdominal surgical wound, and there is a foul odor. What will you do next?
  • You perform a CIWA, and the score is 16. What will you do next?
  • Your teenaged client is found smoking in the hospital restroom. The teen says, “please don’t tell my parents that I smoke.” What will you say next?

(Added 8/17/2021)



3. Prioritizing Hypotheses with Unfolding Cases
The development of the ability to identify priorities is challenging for most students.  Unfolding Priorities is a simple activity to incorporate into class. Give students a single ‘snapshot’ view of multiple patients; after discussing the priorities, unfold another layer of information and discuss how the priorities have changed. Know that there is not always a “best” answer but encourage students to discuss and justify their decisions. (Added 7/7/2021)



2. Is this medication SAFE and indicated?  An activity for EHR review. Have your students explore an EHR (using one you’ve developed or used in simulation). Without any prompts, they must analyze the cues in the EHR and determine if a particular medication is (1) safe and (2) indicated at this time. Ask the student to make the decision based on the information in the chart and mark the medication as “Give,” “Question,” or “Hold.” Request rationale for their decision.

Alternate delivery methods:

  1. Place students in pairs or small groups, have them explore the EHR in lab/sim, and report back to the larger group.
  2. Provide the entire class, the same list of medications, and have them vote.
  3. Allow students access to the EHR the day before class/lab/clinical and ask them to report out at the beginning of the day.
  4. Provide access to the EHR when class begins and give them 5 minutes to decide. [This supports the CJMM Layer 4 – Environmental Factor of Time Pressure] (Added 6/7/2021)



1. Building Cue Recognition by listing Actual and Potential Cues. Give your students a short scenario and have them list 10 cues that they might see indicating an actual or potential problem. (Added 4/27/2021)