Development and validation of Nurses’ Moral Courage Scale

Nursing Ethics 26 (7-8):2438-2455 (2019)
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Background:Moral courage is required at all levels of nursing. However, there is a need for development of instruments to measure nurses’ moral courage.Objectives:The objective of this study is to develop a scale to measure nurses’ self-assessed moral courage, to evaluate the scale’s psychometric properties, and to briefly describe the current level of nurses’ self-assessed moral courage and associated socio-demographic factors.Research design:In this methodological study, non-experimental, cross-sectional exploratory design was applied. The data were collected using Nurses’ Moral Courage Scale and analysed statistically.Participants and research context:The data were collected from a convenience sample of 482 nurses from four different clinical fields in a major university hospital in Finland for the final testing of the scale. The pilot comprised a convenience sample of 129 nurses.Ethical considerations:The study followed good scientific inquiry guidelines. Ethical approval was obtained from the university ethics committee and permission to conduct the study from the participating hospital.Findings:Psychometric evaluation showed that the 4-sub-scale, 21-item Nurses’ Moral Courage Scale demonstrates good reliability and validity at its current state of development showing a good level of internal consistency for a new scale, the internal consistency values ranging from 0.73 to 0.82 for sub-scales and 0.93 for the total scale, thus well exceeding the recommended Cronbach’s alpha value of >0.7. Principal component analysis and confirmatory factor analysis supported the theoretical construct of Nurses’ Moral Courage Scale. Face validity and expert panel assessments markedly contributed to the relevance of items in establishing content validity.Discussion and conclusion:Nurses’ Moral Courage Scale provides a new generic instrument intended for measuring nurses’ self-assessed moral courage. Recognizing the importance of moral courage as a part of nurses’ moral competence and its assessment offers possibilities to develop interventions and educational programs for enhancement of moral courage. Research should focus on further validation measures of Nurses’ Moral Courage Scale in international contexts.



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