In response to COVID-19, our organization expanded the critical care beds capacity; however, the number of critical care nurses was insufficient to meet expansion demands. Therefore, non-critical care nurses were deployed to COVID-19 critical care units. The deployed nurses lacked experience and training in critical care. To ensure patient safety, the nurses were assigned to assessors who evaluated their fitness to practice after receiving upskilling training through simulation-based education (SBE). However, due to the massive expansion and rapid deployment process, there was a shortage of competency assessors, highlighting an urgent need to use SBE to develop more assessors. We developed additional competency assessors through simulation embedding deliberate practice and rigorous assessment. Deliberate practice in simulation is described as progressive learning, which includes repetitive performance and rigorous assessment 
The aim of the study was to explore the effectiveness of simulation embedding deliberate practice in developing nurse competency assessors.
Eleven assessor candidates were asked to perform competency assessments under simulated conditions. During the simulation, simulated participant (SP) roles were assigned as a bedside nurse and patient relative; the patient was a high-fidelity patient simulator. The assessor candidates were asked to perform a competency assessment of the bedside nurse who should perform the required critical care skills on the patient in the presence of the patient’s relative. The candidates used a valid observation rubric to complete the assessment. Using deliberate practice strategies, after each competency assessment, a debriefing session was conducted in which the SPs provided constructive feedback on the assessor’s performance. The assessor repeated the competency assessment under the same simulation conditions and attended debriefing sessions until they mastered the competency assessment process. Post simulation evaluation collected data to evaluate the candidates’ perception of the training.
Eleven nurses completed the simulation developmental programme and were assessed as competent to become assessors. The questionnaire findings revealed that all nurses perceived themselves as competent assessors; however, 90% reported the need for frequent exposure to the competency assessment process over time, in the clinical setting, to enhance their competence and confidence levels.
Implications for practice:
The hybrid simulation modality of SP and patient simulator embedding deliberate practice method was deemed to be an effective fast track method to develop competency assessors. However, practice of competency assessment in real clinical settings is essential to confirm competence.