Assessing the skills for family planning nurse prescribing: development of a psychometrically sound training needs analysis instrument

Carolyn Hicks, C Tyler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Citations (Scopus)


Rationale and aims. Family planning nurses have been identified for early development for prescribing authority in the United Kingdom (UK). Currently, no psychometrically founded training needs analysis instrument exists that can reliably assess the nature and extent of the specific educational provision required for this role. This paper is concerned with the development of an instrument capable of defining the development needs for family planning nurse prescribing. Methods. A national survey was conducted with 388 family planning nurses, using a modified training needs analysis instrument, Respondents were required to assess the importance of 40 tasks, firstly for the role of the family planning nurse (FPN), and again for the role of the family planning nurse prescriber (FPNP). The data from each set of ratings were separately factor analysed using orthogonal Varimax rotations and Cronbach's alpha was computed for each factor. Results. Six factors emerged from the family planning nurse ratings ('professional development', 'managing patient consultations', 'critical appraisal', 'clinical information giving and professional accountability', 'collaborative working and current National Health Service (NHS) issues' and 'dispensing of drugs') and nine factors emerged from the FPNP ratings ('research and practice development', 'prescribing and professional accountability', 'management/leadership', 'clinical decision making and risk assessment', 'advanced health assessment', 'critical appraisal', 'referral processes', 'core nursing skills' and 'dispensing of drugs'. This Suggests that the role of the FPNP is more extended and, moreover, that the two roles are configured very differently but in a way that makes logical and coherent sense within existing research and government policy. This indicates that the instrument is valid. Moreover, all but two of the factors had a Cronbach's alpha score of >0.7 and so can be considered reliable. Conclusions. The results indicate that the modified instrument is valid and reliable and therefore can be used with confidence to assess the training needs of FPNPs. In addition, the factors have outlined a cogent definition of the role of the FPNP, which can be used both to inform educational programmes and to assess their efficacy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)518-531
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Advanced Nursing
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2002


  • family planning nurse
  • training needs analysis instrument
  • nurse prescribing
  • factor analysis
  • psychometrics


Dive into the research topics of 'Assessing the skills for family planning nurse prescribing: development of a psychometrically sound training needs analysis instrument'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this