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Keywords:

  • caring;
  • perceptions;
  • incongruence;
  • perspectives;
  • respondents;
  • scale;
  • providers;
  • consumers;
  • instrument;
  • comfort nursing

Providers’ and consumers’ perspective of nurses’ caring behaviours

The primary purpose of this article is to discuss the development and testing of a scale designed to examine nurses’ caring behaviours. A pilot study was conducted with a convenience sample (n = 81) of 42 nurses (providers) and 39 patients (consumers). The setting was two community hospitals in the New England Region. The respondents were able to assign a rank of the items (nurses’ caring behaviours) with a spread of mean values from 3·5 to 16·7. There was agreement on the most caring behaviour, ‘The nurses treat me as an individual’, on the behaviour in the middle range of caring, ‘The nurses comfort me by their silent presence’, and on the least caring behaviour, ‘The nurses did not talk about how my illness might affect my life’. The Wilcoxon two-sample rank-sum test was used to test the difference in rank of the 20 items between the providers and the consumers. There was a significant difference between the providers and the consumers in the ranking of nine of the 20 items. The consumers valued behaviours that recognized their individual perspective as well as that of their family and behaviours that helped them anticipate and prepare for change. The providers placed a greater emphasis on the behaviours that were more geared towards the comforting aspects of care by encouraging patients to express and vent their feelings. These findings allow clinicians to be sensitized to their caring behaviours by increasing their realization of how behaviours are perceived by patients. The instrument needs minor revision and then further testing is indicated.