Development and psychometric testing of the attitude and confidence with oral healthcare among nursing students (ACORN) scale

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Nurse Education in Practice


Aim: To develop and test the psychometric properties of the attitude and confidence with oral healthcare among nursing students (ACORN) scale. Background: Delivering oral healthcare is an essential component of care, which is often overlooked and omitted. A nurse's attitude or confidence may influence how oral healthcare is prioritised. To date, there are no scales that assess both attitude and confidence for nurses when undertaking oral healthcare and thus the ACORN scale was developed. Methods: The 24-item scale was developed following a three-stage process, which included concept identification and item construction, pilot testing, factorial and discriminant validity and reliability testing. The survey was distributed to nursing students to assess their attitude and confidence in providing oral healthcare. This study has been registered with the Registry of Efficacy and Effectiveness Studies (12940.1v1). Results: Using a before and after intervention survey design, the psychometric properties of the ACORN scale were examined with data collected from two student groups. Exploratory Factor Analysis yielded a two-factor structure, which was verified using Confirmatory Factor Analysis. Importantly, aggregated scale scores were able to detect differences in attitude and confidence following oral healthcare education (4.95 versus 5.66, p < 0.01). The Cronbach's alpha for the 24-item scale was 0.94. Conclusion: The ACORN scale is a valid and reliable tool that can be used to assess differences in attitude and confidence of students following oral health education. Further research is recommended to test the utility of this scale using other educational interventions with different groups of healthcare providers.

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