Measuring inpatient psychiatric environments: psychometric properties of the Practice Environment Scale-Nursing Work Index (PES-NWI)

Reliable and valid instruments are needed for evaluating complex inpatient psychiatric environments where psychiatric nurses work and patients get better. The Practice Environment Scale of the Nursing Workforce Index (PES-NWI) is an instrument commonly used in outcomes research to measure constructs of the practice environment. However, psychometric properties of the PES-NWI have not been tested in a psychiatric nurse population. This paper examines the psychometric properties of the PES-NWI using a sample of hospital based psychiatric registered nurses. The objective was to confirm the usefulness of the PES-NWI subscales to describe psychiatric inpatient nurse practice environments and generate reference values. Once established, researchers and administrators may use the PES-NWI to standardize the evaluation of inpatient psychiatric environments. Reference values could also be a tool for managers to target needed quality improvements and measure progress toward change in clinical environments.