Skip to main content

Investigators Identify Translation Gaps in Instrument That Measures Nurse Work Environment

Two decades ago, the Practice Environment Scale of the Nursing Work Index was published to measure the nursing practice environment. Although the instrument’s use has resulted in advances in science and quality improvement efforts, its potential may be limited by the availability and quality of translations into different languages.

Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing (Penn Nursing) investigated published translations of the instrument and have identified translations into 24 languages and 15 language variants representing 35 countries. Languages in Europe, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East comprise most translations. Translation gaps are noted for countries in Africa, Asia, and South America. While most translations exhibited cross-cultural equivalence and sound psychometric properties, the gaps indicate an area of opportunity that, when addressed, could further support worldwide quality and safety of care, and improve patient health outcomes as well as nurse job outcomes.

“In countries and regions where a translation is available, managers can survey their registered nurses to assess the quality of their work environments and compare them with published referents,” suggests Penn Nursing’s Eileen T. Lake, Ph.D. RN, FAAN, Professor of Nursing, the Edith Clemmer Steinbright Professor in Gerontology, Associate Director of the Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research, and lead author of the article. “In countries without published translations, healthcare managers should consider collaborating with regional schools of nursing to support translation efforts by permitting their staff nurses to volunteer as research participants.”

The research suggests that additional cultural equivalence or psychometric evaluation is warranted for half of the available translations. In addition, more robust reporting of the translation processes and results is needed. The article “Translations of the Practice Environment Scale of the Nursing Work Index: A Systematic Review” details the findings. It has been published in Nursing & Health Sciences and is available online.

Co-authors of the article include Kathleen E. Fitzpatrick Rosenbaum, BSN, RN, RNC-NIC, CCRN-K, Christina Sauveur, BSN, Catherine Buren, and Priscilla Cho, BSN, all of Penn Nursing. Kathleen E. Fitzpatrick Rosenbaum’s predoctoral fellowship is supported by funding from the National Institute of Nursing Research, National Institutes of Health (Aiken, PI; T32NR007104).