Measuring nurse managers' boundary spanning: development and psychometric evaluation

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To test the psychometric properties of a boundary spanning measure by nurse managers.


The health-care environment requires hospital units to coordinate efforts autonomously across their boundaries and to manage relationships with other professionals, units and departments. Boundary spanning has become increasingly important for first-line nurse managers as unit gatekeepers; however, the available measures are limited.


The 30-item instrument was developed from a literature review. Survey participants were 4918 nurses at 231 hospital units. Statistical analyses of construct validity and internal consistency were performed. Furthermore, the correlation between nurses' scores on the Nurse Managers Boundary Spanning Scale and nurses' evaluations of their managers were examined.


Three factors and 26 items were derived from factor analyses: connecting and mediating, informing and feedback utilisation, and resource acquisition. Cronbach's subscales' alpha coefficients were above 0.9. Correlation analysis indicated that the Nurse Managers Boundary Spanning Scale score correlated with nurses' positive perceptions of their managers.


This study demonstrates tentative support for the validity and reliability of the Nurse Managers Boundary Spanning Scale. Although further study is needed, the Nurse Managers Boundary Spanning Scale shows possibilities as a new measurement of nursing leadership.


This study underscores measures to build on nurse managers' roles by building on the limited research available.

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