Evaluation of the Psychometric Properties of the Psychological Medicine Inventory-Nurses Version

Article excerpt

Responding to a patient's psychological needs is central to nursing practice. The Psychological Medicine Inventory (PMI) assesses the level of interest, confidence, and perceived clinical abilities in addressing psychological aspects of patient care. The inventory was developed for use among physicians. This study examines the psychometric properties and factor structure of a modified version of the PMI among nurses (Psychological Medicine Inventory-Nurses [PMI-N]). One hundred and nine hospital nurses completed the PMI-N and a measure of emotional responsiveness. Consistent with the original inventory, factor analysis yielded a two-factor solution-psychological ability and psychological sensitivity. The PMI-N demonstrated a high percentage of explained variance (64.6%) and satisfactory Cronbach's alpha internal consistency coefficients for the total inventory (.83) and for the two factors (.81 and .70, respectively). Furthermore, the item-to-total correlations were high (.48-.69), as were the inter-item correlations (.41-.65). Given these results, the PMI-N can be used with confidence among nurses. Further examination of the scale with larger and more representative samples is warranted.

Keywords: nurses; psychological medicine inventory; psychological abilities; psychological sensitivity; psychometric properties; emotional responsiveness

Theories and practice of nursing as a caring profession have been traditionally underpinned by basic professional values that reflect holistic orientations to the patient's well-being. According to this approach, nursing care should minister to biopsychosocial, spiritual, and cultural needs of the patient. An obvious implication of the holistic approach is that accomplished nurses are required to master diverse professional skills. Various nursing theories commonly distinguish between two basic dimensions of care that correspond to professional skills: instrumental abilities on one hand, and emotional abilities on the other. For example, Watson's theory of human care (1988) distinguishes between instrumental caring (behaviors that embody physical and cognitive professional skills) and expressive behaviors (the expression of feelings and emotional support). Similarly, Henderson (1990) suggests that an excellent nurse is the one who has thoroughly mastered instrumental nursing skills while remaining compassionate and sensitive to patients' needs. How do nurses assess their own emotional abilities? The current study assesses the psychometric properties of an instrument used initially to examine the emotional and psychological abilities of physicians, which was modified for use among nurses-the nurses' version of the PMI-N.

BACKGROUND

The importance of addressing emotional and psychological needs of patients has been supported empirically by its association with high levels of compliance and satisfaction with care (e.g., Lower, Bonsack, & Guion, 2003; Wolf et al., 1998). In this sense, nurses' responsiveness to emotional and psychological needs can be considered as an index of nursing care quality.

Because responding to patients' emotional and psychological needs is embedded in nursing theories and is central to nursing practice, the teaching of behavioral and social sciences has become an integral part of nursing education, especially after the 1946 declaration from the World Health Organization that "Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity" (Sheikh, 2005, p. 431). The emotional aspects of providing care to patients are thoroughly and comprehensively studied in the bachelors and masters programs in European and American nursing schools (Ron, 2006). Advanced programs and professional specialization courses devote a substantial part of the practical training to teaching the emotional aspects of patient care in diverse diseases and different health situations. Communication skills, which are considered one of the fundamentals of regular nursing practice (Newell, 1994), are also taught in many nursing education programs. …