This study aimed to develop and test the psychometric soundness of a patient-centred care competency (PCC) scale for hospital nurses. A cross-sectional questionnaire survey was conducted among 594 nurses in two teaching hospitals (response rate 99.5%). Reliability and validity analyses were performed. The PCC scale consisted of 17 items divided into four subscales: respecting patients' perspectives (6 items), promoting patient involvement in care processes (5 items), providing for patient comfort (3 items) and advocating for patients (3 items). The Cronbach's alpha coefficient of the entire scale was 0.92, and those for the subscales were 0.85, 0.81, 0.84 and 0.80, respectively. Multitrait scaling analysis indicated that the four subscales had satisfactory convergent and discriminant validity. Significant correlations were found between total PCC scores and overall self-ratings of patient-centred care performance (r = 0.60, P < 0.001). The PCC scale was therefore determined to be a highly valid and reliable tool.