Quantitative measurement of caring
Caring is a difficult, elusive concept not only to define but also to measure. Eleven different quantitative instruments designed to measure caring are reviewed. Out of these 11 caring instruments, seven are Likert scales, two are visual analogue scales, one is a checklist, and one is a Q-sort. For each of these instruments the following information is provided: description of the tool, such as number of items and length of time to administer; conceptual definition of caring upon which it is based; reported reliability and validity; and the instrument’s use in research studies. Comparison of these instruments revealed that different aspects of caring are measured by these tools such as caring behaviours, satisfaction with caring behaviours, ability to care, and response to caring behaviours. Some caring instruments are designed to be completed by patients only, by nurses only, or by either patients or nurses. Multiple factors need to be taken into consideration by nurse researchers in deciding which instrument to use to measure caring.