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Keywords:

  • continuing education;
  • exploratory factor analysis;
  • human capital;
  • nurse staffing;
  • nursing theory

Abstract

Aims

To present the operationalization of concepts in the nursing intellectual capital theory and the results of a methodological study aimed at empirically validating the concepts.

Background

The nursing intellectual capital theory proposes that the stocks of nursing knowledge in an organization are embedded in two concepts, nursing human capital and nursing structural capital. The theory also proposes that two concepts in the work environment, nurse staffing and employer support for nursing continuing professional development, influence nursing human capital.

Design

A cross-sectional design.

Methods

A systematic three-step process was used to operationalize the concepts of the theory. In 2008, data were collected for 147 inpatient units from administrative departments and unit managers in 6 Canadian hospitals. Exploratory factor analyses were conducted to determine if the indicator variables accurately reflect their respective concepts.

Results

The proposed indicator variables collectively measured the nurse staffing concept. Three indicators were retained to construct nursing human capital: clinical expertise and experience concept. The nursing structural capital and employer support for nursing continuing professional development concepts were not validated empirically.

Conclusion

The nurse staffing and the nursing human capital: clinical expertise and experience concepts will be brought forward for further model testing. Refinement for some of the indicator variables of the concepts is indicated. Additional research is required with different sources of data to confirm the findings.