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Authors

  1. Eriksen, Lillian R. DSN, RN
  2. Krepper, Rebecca PhD, MBA, RN

Article Content

Background

Researchers look for valid and reliable instruments to study contextual factors that can impact patient outcomes and organizational efficiency and effectiveness. 1 A major barrier to conducting organizational research in nursing is the difficulty of locating appropriate measurement instruments. 2 The idea for this online compendium of nursing administration instruments was conceived and developed out of a desire to have a central repository of instruments for measuring concepts of interest to nursing administrators and researchers. Access to such a database, via the Internet, ensures this information is available anytime and anywhere in the world. Financial support for development of the database was obtained from both the Houston Endowment and the Houston Organization of Nurse Executives.

 

Methods

Multiple avenues of inquiry were used to populate the database. Electronic indexes were searched using keywords that described the contextual variables identified by the authors. Articles related to instrumentation as well as research studies on the variables of interest were then identified and reviewed. Instruments that matched the identified contextual variables and had enough availableinformation to adequately describe the instrument were selected for inclusion in the database. When an instrument of interest was identified but lacked supporting information, attempts were made to contact the author. Some instruments were contributed as a result of a general call for published and unpublished instruments placed on the Council on Graduate Education for Administration in Nursing (CGEAN) list serve and in the CGEAN newsletter. Additional instruments were identified from the individual collections of the authors and an archive of instruments located at the University of Iowa School of Nursing. The authors jointly agreed on the specific data elements to be abstracted for inclusion in the database. The software program ACCESS(TM) was used to design the database and store the information.

 

The construction of the database enables this to be a dynamic resource. Depending on the need of the researcher, a number of approaches can be used to search for instruments. Searching can be done using the instrument name, author name, a list of categories, and a list of variables and concepts. A planned enhancement of the database will allow for researchers to update the information about their instruments and also enable others to contribute instruments to the database. Currently this is possible via e-mail to one of the authors.

 

Discussion

The use of this model or approach can be easily transported to the clinical arena where databases of instruments to study patient processes and outcomes could be developed and made available online. The URL for this project and any other applications, particularly clinical ones, could also become a service provided by national and international nursing organizations.

 

Numerous positive e-mail responses concerning this resource are received from academics, researchers, and students who are searching for instruments for their research. Other responses have indicated a small number of entry errors made while populating the database and even on e-mail informing us that the database was not working correctly.

 

This project was selected for presentation as a scientific demonstration at the Seventh International Congress of Nursing Informatics, "One Step Beyond: The Evolution of Technology and Nursing 2000." At that international meeting approximately 25 people reported that they thought this was of particular interest to them. Many indicated that their access to this kind of information is scarce and they hoped that other such on-line sites could be developed.

 

In addition the project has been presented at two other local meetings and was requested for presentation at another venue after some nurses experienced use of the database. Sigma Theta Tau awarded the project a regional information technology award. The project can be accessed on-line at: http://www.sph.uth.tmc.edu/chis/scripts/eriksen/.

 

REFERENCES

 

1. Department of Health and Human Services, "Patient Outcomes Research: Examining the Effectiveness of Nursing Practice," Proceedings of the State of the Science Conference, NIH publication no. 93-3411, 1992. [Context Link]

 

2. Sigma Theta Tau International, "Nursing Leadership in the 21st Century," ARISTA II conference proceedings, 1996. [Context Link]