Towards a measure of accountability in nursing: A three-stage validation study

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Aims: The aim of this study was to develop and psychometrically evaluate a three-dimensional questionnaire suitable for evaluating personal and organizational accountability in nurses. Background: Accountability is defined as a three-dimensional value, directing professionals to take responsibility for their decisions and actions, to be willing to explain them (transparency), and to be judged according to society's accepted values (answerability). Despite the relatively clear definition, measurement of accountability lags well behind. Existing self-report questionnaires do not fully capture the complexity of the concept nor do they capture the different sources of accountability (e.g., personal accountability, organizational accountability). Design: A three-stage measure development. Methods: Data were collected during 2015–2016. In Phase 1, an initial database of items (N = 74) was developed, based on literature review and qualitative study, establishing face and content validity. In Phase 2, the face, content, construct, and criterion-related validity of the initial questionnaires (19 items for personal and organizational accountability questionnaire) were established with a sample of 229 nurses. In Phase 3, the final questionnaires (19 items each) were validated with a new sample of 329 nurses and established construct validity. Results: The final version of the instruments comprised 19 items, suitable for assessing personal and organizational accountability. The questionnaire referred to the dimensions of responsibility, transparency, and answerability. The findings established the instrument's content, construct, and criterion-related validity as well as good internal reliability. Conclusion: The questionnaire portrays accountability in nursing, by capturing nurses’ subjective perceptions of accountability dimensions (responsibility, transparency, answerability), as demonstrated by personal and organizational values.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2450-2464
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Advanced Nursing
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 John Wiley & Sons Ltd


  • measurement development
  • neglect
  • nurses
  • nursing
  • organizational accountability
  • performance
  • personal accountability
  • questionnaire
  • validation
  • ward accountability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Nursing


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