Introduction: Healthcare professionals must sufficiently understand ionising radiation and the associated protection measures to avoid unnecessarily exposing patients and staff to ionising radiation. Hence, a proper safety culture is important to lowering health risks. The development and establishment of an instrument that can indicate healthcare professionals' understanding/knowledge of radiation protection concepts can greatly contribute to a good safety culture. The purpose of the present study was to develop and psychometrically test the Healthcare Professional Knowledge of Radiation Protection (HPKRP) self-evaluation scale, which was designed to measure the knowledge level of radiation protection by healthcare professionals working with ionising radiation in a clinical environment.
Methods: The presented research employed a cross-sectional study design. Data were collected from eight Finnish hospitals in 2017. A total of 252 eligible nurses responded to the newly developed HPKRP scale. The face and content validity were tested with the Content Validity Index (CVI). Explorative factor analysis was used to test construct validity, whereas reliability was tested with Cronbach's alpha.
Results: Overall S-CVI for the HPKRP scale was 0.83. Exploratory factor analysis revealed a three-factor model for the HcPCRP scale containing 33 items. The first factor was defined by Radiation physics and principles of radiation usage, the second factor by Radiation protection, and the third factor by Guidelines of safe ionising radiation usage. These three factors explained 72% of the total variance. Cronbach's alpha coefficient for the scale ranged from 0.93 to 0.96.
Conclusion: The results provide strong evidence for the validity and reliability of the HPKRP scale. Additionally, educators can use the scale to evaluate healthcare students' understanding in radiation safety before and after education.
Keywords: Healthcare professional; Instrument development; Ionising radiation; Psychometric testing; Radiation protection knowledge.
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