Measuring Scope of Practice Enactment among Primary Care Registered Nurses in Ontario
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Background: Primary care is the sector of health care in which patients first establish contact with the health system, are provided person-focused care over time for all new or common needs, and receive coordinated integrated health services provided elsewhere by other members of the health care team. Registered Nurses (RNs) in Canada provide care within this sector in varying roles. The extent to which RNs enact their full scope of practice in primary care settings in Canada is not known. The Actual Scope of Practice questionnaire (ASCOP) is a 26 item Likert scale questionnaire developed by researchers in Canada and validated in the acute care setting to measure the extent to which RNs apply the knowledge, skills and competencies of the professional full scope of practice. Similar to the acute care setting, there is a need to measure scope of practice enactment in the primary care setting. Objectives: The overall aim of this thesis was to measure scope of practice enactment in the primary care setting. Two research objectives were addressed: (1) to revise and adapt the ASCOP questionnaire for use in the primary care setting, and (2) to determine internal consistency, construct validity, and sensitivity of the modified instrument, the ASCOP-PC. Methods: To address the first objective, a narrative literature review and synthesis and an expert panel review was conducted. To address the second objective a cross-sectional survey of 178 RNs working in primary care organizations in Ontario was conducted Results: The ASCOP, with few modifications, addressed key attributes of nursing scope of practice in the primary care setting. The ASCOP-PC yielded acceptable alpha coefficients ranging from 0.66 to 0.91 and explained variances from 44.2 to 62.6. Total mean score of 5.16 suggests that RNs within these models of care almost always engage in activities reflected in the ASCOP-PC. Interpretation: Findings from this study support the use of a the modified ASCOP questionnaire as a reliable and valid measure of scope of practice enactment among primary care nurses in the primary care setting.