Development and Psychometric Testing of the Nursing Research Self-Efficacy Scale (NURSES)

Article excerpt

Background and Purpose: The Nursing Research Self-Efficacy Scale (NURSES) was designed to measure individual nurses' degree of research self-efficacy and their perceptions regarding their unit's collective support of research use. Development for the NURSES instrument spanned a 4-year period, which included initial development, revisions, and psychometric evaluations. Method: The NURSES is a 38-item Likertscale instrument developed through ongoing instrument validation that included content validation and exploratory and confirmatory analysis. The 5 subscales include obtaining science-based knowledge resources, critically reading and evaluating quantitative research literature, critically reading and evaluating qualitative research literature, understanding and applying theory, and collective research efficacy. Results: Over a 4-year period, approximately 1000 practicing nurses from multiple hospitals responded to the instrument. Exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses supported the existence of four subscales for research self-efficacy and one subscale for collective research efficacy. Reliability for the subscales was excellent, ranging from .94 to .97. Conclusions: Hospitals may wish to use the NURSES instrument as an orientation tool, or to examine relationships between research efficacy and nurses' professional development. Health care facilities on a Magnet journey might also use the NURSES instrument to assess their nursing staffas they pursue evidence-based practice and conduct research.

Keywords: nursing research self-efficacy; collective research efficacy; instrument development; knowledge translation

Evidence-based nursing is essential to provide optimal care that promotes both effective and cost-efficient health care delivery. Despite obvious benefit, the use of research findings in nursing practice remains low. Research findings have revealed that nurses need confidence and advanced competencies to use research knowledge (Scott-Findlay & Golden-Biddle, 2005; Swenson-Britt & Reineck, 2009; Thompson, Estabrooks, Scott-Findlay, Moore, & Wallin, 2007; Thompson, Moore, & Estabrooks, 2008). Not surprisingly, nurses are more willing to engage in tasks in which they feel competent and confident and to avoid those in which they do not. Developing confident nurses who access evidence-based research findings to implement high-quality care in their practice could reduce adverse outcomes. Unfortunately, a reliable and valid instrument does not exist to measure research confidence of a practicing nurse. This article describes development and psychometric testing of the NURSES. This instrument was designed to measure individual nurses' degree of research self-efficacy (RSE) and their perceptions regarding their unit's collective support of research use.


Patients trust that nurses provide care based on the best available evidence. Although patients can appreciate nurses' clinical experience is a great teacher of patient care, they want their care to also be based on the latest knowledge and research in the field. Case in point, patients enter hospitals with multiple concerns and many fear experiencing a preventable harmful event. Clinical nursing research has provided practicing nurses with instruments to assess risk to patients and protocols/bundles that detail the best practices for preventing falls, medication errors, pressure ulcers, and hospital-acquired infections (Cochrane, 2010; Joanna Briggs Institute [JBI], 2007).

Although this knowledge is available to nurses throughout the United States, it is clear that large variation remains in the actual care delivered and outcomes experienced by patients in different hospital settings, as well as in different units within the same hospital. The quandary for health care is why can one hospital have zero ventilator-associated pneumonia and central line infections over 1 year while other hospitals have varying results within the same year (Berwick, 2006). …