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The study purpose was to provide evidence of validity for the Primary Health Care Engagement (PHCE) Scale, based on exploratory factor analysis and reliability findings from a large national survey of regulated nurses residing and working in rural and remote Canadian communities.
There are currently no published provider-level instruments to adequately assess delivery of community-based primary health care, relevant to ongoing primary health care (PHC) reform strategies across Canada and elsewhere. The PHCE Scale reflects a contemporary approach that emphasizes community-oriented and community-based elements of PHC delivery.
Data from the pan-Canadian Nursing Practice in Rural and Remote Canada II (RRNII) survey were used to conduct an exploratory factor analysis and evaluate the internal consistency reliability of the final PHCE Scale.
The RRNII survey sample included 1587 registered nurses, nurse practitioners, licensed practical nurses, and registered psychiatric nurses residing and working in rural and remote Canada. Exploratory factor analysis identified an eight-factor structure across 28 items overall, and good internal consistency reliability was indicated by an α estimate of 0.89 for the final scale. The final 28-item PHCE Scale includes three of four elements in a contemporary approach to PHC (accessibility/availability, community participation, and intersectoral team) and most community-oriented/based elements of PHC (interdisciplinary collaboration, person-centred, continuity, population orientation, and quality improvement). We recommend additional psychometric testing in a range of health care providers and settings, as the PHCE Scale shows promise as a tool for health care planners and researchers to test interventions and track progress in primary health care reform.
To report the development and psychometric evaluation of a scale to measure rural and remote (rural/remote) nurses’ perceptions of the engagement of their workplaces in key dimensions of primary health care (PHC).
Amidst ongoing PHC reforms, a comprehensive instrument is needed to evaluate the degree to which rural/remote health care settings are involved in the key dimensions that characterize PHC delivery, particularly from the perspective of professionals delivering care.
This study followed a three-phase process of instrument development and psychometric evaluation. A literature review and expert consultation informed instrument development in the first phase, followed by an iterative process of content evaluation in the second phase. In the final phase, a pilot survey was undertaken and item discrimination analysis employed to evaluate the internal consistency reliability of each subscale in the preliminary 60-item Primary Health Care Engagement (PHCE) Scale. The 60-item scale was subsequently refined to a 40-item instrument.
The pilot survey sample included 89 nurses in current practice who had experience in rural/remote practice settings. Participants completed either a web-based or paper survey from September to December, 2013. Following item discrimination analysis, the 60-item instrument was refined to a 40-item PHCE Scale consisting of 10 subscales, each including three to five items. Alpha estimates of the 10 refined subscales ranged from 0.61 to 0.83, with seven of the subscales demonstrating acceptable reliability (α⩾0.70). The refined 40-item instrument exhibited good internal consistency reliability (α=0.91). The 40-item PHCE Scale may be considered for use in future studies regardless of locale, to measure the extent to which health care professionals perceive their workplaces to be engaged in key dimensions of PHC.
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