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Nursing Intellectual Capital Theory: Operationalization and Empirical Validation of Concepts

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  • Aims: This paper presents the operationalization of concepts in the nursing intellectual capital theory and the results of a methodological study aimed to empirically validate the concepts. Background: The nursing intellectual capital theory proposes the stocks of nursing knowledge within an organization are embedded in two concepts, nursing human capital and nursing structural capital. The theory also proposes that two concepts within the work environment, nurse staffing and employer support for nursing continuing professional development influence nursing human capital. Methods: A systematic three-step process was used to operationalize the concepts of the theory. In 2008, a cross-sectional design was used to collect data for 147 inpatient units from administrative departments and unit managers in 6 Canadian hospitals. Exploratory factor analyses were conducted to determine if the indicator variables accurately reflect their respective concepts. Results: The proposed indicator variables collectively measured the nurse staffing concept. Three indicators were retained to construct nursing human capital: clinical expertise and experience concept. The nursing structural capital and employer support for nursing continuing professional development concepts were not validated empirically. Conclusion: The nurse staffing and the nursing human capital: clinical expertise and experience concepts will be brought forward for further model testing. Refinement for some of the indicator variables of the concepts is indicated. Additional research is required with different sources of data to confirm the findings.

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    Article (Published)
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    © Blackwell Publishing Ltd 2013
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  • Citation for previous publication
    • Covell C.L. & Sidani S. (2012) Nursing intellectual capital theory: operationalization and empirical validation of concepts. Journal of Advanced Nursing 69(8), 1785–1796.
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