Measuring peer caring behaviors of nursing students: scale development

Chien-Lin Kuo, Michael A Turton, Jane Lee-Hsieh, Hung-Fu Tseng, Chin-Lung Hsu
International Journal of Nursing Studies 2007, 44 (1): 105-14

BACKGROUND: Caring is one of the most important domains of nursing research, peer caring among student nurses, and its potential effects on nurse caring behaviors remains largely unexplored. Few tools in the literature target peer caring interactions, and which were either irrelevant to our research purpose or culturally inappropriate for nursing student population in Taiwan.

OBJECTIVES: The purpose of this study was to develop a culturally sensitive instrument to measure peer caring behavior from the student perspective and to offer a descriptive answer to "what is peer caring in Taiwan."

DESIGN: The study uses both qualitative and quantitative methods in developing the "Peer Caring Measurement (PCM)" questionnaire.

SETTINGS: Students from a 5-year associate degree nursing program in a university of technology in southern Taiwan were recruited into this study.

PARTICIPANTS: Thirteen first- through fourth-year student volunteers between the ages of 16 and 20 were interviewed to explore caring behavior in student peer-to-peer interactions. Two classes from each of the first, second, third, and fourth year students, a total of 360 students were randomly selected to assess the internal consistency of "PCM", and 47 first-year students were conveniently selected to examine the stability of the tool.

METHODS: Interviews were conducted in an unstructured manner. Qualitative data were analyzed by a constant comparative method. The questionnaire survey was used to assess the validity and reliability of "PCM".

RESULTS: A 17-item "PCM" was developed; the content validity, construct validity, and reliability of the tool were ensured by expert review, factor analysis, and internal consistency. Three factors, labeled assistant caring, academic caring, and affective caring, accounted for 63.197% of the variance.

CONCLUSIONS: The "PCM" addressed the multidimensional construct of peer caring. It was validated in a Chinese language version and can be used in college settings to evaluate student interactions and their peer caring behaviors.

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