Development and Testing of the Global Interprofessional Therapeutic Communication Scale (GITCS®)

Sunday, 30 July 2017

Suzanne H. Campbell, PhD
School of Nursing, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada
Natalia Del Angelo Aredes
School of Nursing of Ribeirao Preto, University of Sao Paulo, Ribeirao Preto, Ribeirao Preto - SP, Brazil

Background: Simulation is a valuable tool to educate health professionals on effective communication. It also is a method that can bring educators together to create, evaluate, and test new instruments for assessment. Communication is a key component for safe, effective health care delivery and has the potential to enhance patients’ experiences within the health care system, empowering them to be active partners in the process, as well as impacting patient outcomes. Researchers have identified a connection between miscommunication and adverse events/errors in clinical practice, which affects the quality of care (Fay-Hillier, Regan, & Gallagher Gordon, 2012). In order to minimize miscommunication, a variety of strategies and tools have been utilized to measure and assess health communication between practitioners, patients, and families. The Global Interprofessional Therapeutic Communication Scale (GITCS©) was developed for health educators to facilitate formative and summative evaluation of students' communication skills in simulation and clinical settings.

Purpose: To describe the development and reliability/validity testing of the GITCS©.

Methods: The GITCS© was developed using theoretical references of therapeutic communication and refined using a reiterative process of expert review. First, a panel of nursing educators with extensive teaching experience in simulation settings was convened to review existing therapeutic communication assessment tools, identify gaps, and contribute to the initial item generation for GITCS©. Second, two rounds of expert reviews by nursing and allied health sciences educators was conducted to pare down the number of items, determine corresponding constructs and domains, and craft the item statements for appropriate context and grammar. Third, to obtain psychometric data for reliability and validity, an international sample of simulation educators affiliated with nursing and allied health postsecondary institutions were invited to help test the GITCS©. The international sample is asked to log into an online portal to view videos featuring a public health nurse on a home visit, and using a digital version of the GITCS©, rate the nurse’s therapeutic communication skills as she interacts with the patient. Three videos were professionally produced (professional actors, videographer/editor) depicting “bad,” “good,” and “mixed” communication skills. The scripts were carefully tailored based on the GITCS© items.

Results: Initial item generation included those related to active listening, empathy, empowerment, verbal and non-verbal communication, rapport and trust building, barriers, and cultural boundaries. The two rounds of expert reviews pared the scale to 43 items, identifying 4 corresponding constructs: education, empathy, power sharing and rapport/trust building. We will present results of initial reliability and validity testing of the GITCS, expounding on our chosen methods in examining construct validity, internal consistency and interrater reliability.

Conclusion: The GITCS© aims to support faculty, students and health professionals as a summative and formative assessment tool in measuring therapeutic communication outcomes during clinical practice or simulation in educational setting. Data will be shared on the reliability and validity of GITCS © as tested by an international, interdisciplinary group of health simulation educators using an online portal featuring three professionally developed videos demonstrating "good," "bad," and "mixed" therapeutic communication between a public health nurse and older female client during a home visit .