Development and evaluation of a psychometric questionnaire to assess forensic mental health nurses’ practice competencies.

Investigator: Rebecca Millar

Supervisor: Natasha Sands

Rationale & Aims:

  • Previous studies have investigated nurses’ competencies in general mental health settings (Watson, Stimpson, Topping & Porrock, 2002; Speers, 2007). The present study involves the development and testing of a questionnaire to evaluate forensic nurses’ competencies. Practical uses of the questionnaire in the future will include the evaluation of forensic nurses’ competencies using a validated and reliable questionnaire. This will be the first questionnaire designed specifically for determining the competencies of forensic mental health nurses.
  • The aims of this study are to:

(i) Establish the clinical practice competencies required of a forensic mental health nurse

(ii) To develop a questionnaire to assess forensic nurses’ clinical competencies using the Delphi method

(iii) To pilot test the questionnaire

(iv) To determine the questionnaires psychometric properties, including its reliability and validity


  • Phase One – a review of the literature will be conducted to determine what are currently considered competencies required of forensic mental health nurses.
  • Phase Two- a Delphi technique will be used to develop a questionnaire to identify forensic nurses’ clinical competencies.
  • Phase Three – the competencies derived from Phase Two will be turned into questions that will be used in the tool. They will be tested for content validity using panels of experts in the field. In Phase Four, the final questionnaire will be pilot tested and its psychometric properties evaluated.