Background: Research on engagement has been primarily reported in the business literature, and a single definition for what engagement looks like remains allusive. This lack of a single definition for engagement makes it difficult to measure. We found many definitions and methods of measurement in our review of the literature. However, it is unclear if these studies are truly measuring engagement or if they are capturing some other associated variable, such as work satisfaction or happiness. In addition, while there may be other forms of engagement, such as professional engagement, little has been written or reported on this engagement variation.
Purpose: Thus, the purpose of this project was to develop two new engagement scales (Professional Engagement Behavior Scale [PEBS] and Organizational Engagement Behavior Scale [OEBS]) that attempt to quantify engagement behaviors and explore what engaged nurses look like, rather than what makes nurses satisfied or happy with their career and employment.
Methods: We developed two, single-item scoring tools to calculate a score for professional and organizational engagement behaviors. The engagement behaviors were developed from a review of the literature.
The total number of activities or behaviors in each scale are tabulated and higher scores indicate higher levels of engagement behaviors. Scores are standardized, converting total scores to a t-score (mean = 50, SD = 10) to make comparisons easier.
The Professional Engagement Behavior Scale: We define professional engagement behaviors as acts of independently and autonomously improving ones’ skills and knowledge and sharing this with others through professional service and networking. Thus for this study, professional engagement behaviors include evidence of formal education, professional certification, and networking with peers and experts through membership in a professional organization and attendance at a professional conference, presentations, and publications.
The Organizational Engagement Behavior Scale: We defined organizational engagement behaviors as the act of actively contributing to the betterment of the organization to the best of one’s ability through leadership and participation in organizational activities. Thus for this study, organizational engagement behaviors consisted of accepting a leadership roles in nursing (manager, assistant manager, charge nurse, patient educator, clinical educator, and advanced practice nurse), participating in shared governance (as a committee member, as a project or council chair), attending unit meetings, leading quality improvement or evidence-based projects, and participating on organizational committees.
Findings: Content validity was confirmed by sending out the list of behaviors to four nurses who are actively engaged in clinical practice, and calculating a CVI based upon their assessment. Two revisions were made to achieve a CVI of greater than 0.80. Factor analysis identified only a single component for each of the scale. Preliminary analysis suggests that satisfaction with nursing as a career is highly correlated (r > 0.50) with professional engagement behaviors, and linear regression suggests that professional engagement predicts organizational engagement. Thus, organizations that facilitate nurses’ ability to advance professionally may reap the benefits in the form of more organizational engagement.
Recommendations: We recommend continued testing of these two scales.