Purpose: To review the psychometric properties and evaluate the estimates of validity of commonly used instruments to measure autonomy and control over nursing practice.
Design: Literature review and evaluation of psychometric properties.
Methods: Nursing research reports published in English in peer-reviewed journals between 1990 and 2007 were examined. Psychometric properties and the actual instrument were reviewed to determine validity for measuring autonomy and control over nursing practice.
Findings and Conclusions: Instruments used to measure autonomy and control over nursing practice are frequently imprecise or inaccurate for measuring the concept of interest. Valid instruments are available to allow measurement of the concepts of clinical autonomy, work autonomy, and control over nursing practice. Clear definitions and valid measures are helpful when communicating and synthesizing nursing knowledge concerning these concepts.
Clinical Relevance: Evaluating the validity of instruments for measuring clinical autonomy, work autonomy, and control over nursing practice can be helpful when organizing and synthesizing the literature related to these concepts, so that strategies to improve professional practice environments becomes more clear.