Psychometric Evaluation of a Triage Decision Making Inventory


Name: Anita Smith

Rank: CDR

Organization: University of South Alabama College, Mobile, AL

Performance Site: University of South Alabama College, Mobile, AL

Year Published: 2009

Abstract Status: Final


Purpose: Triage decision making or prioritizing care is an essential operational nursing skill in all clinical settings.  The purpose of this study was to evaluate the psychometric properties of the Triage Decision Making Inventory (TDMI) in a sample of Navy nurses and civilian nurses with diverse experience levels and clinical specialties.

Design: Instrument evaluation study through administration of the inventory to a sample of nurses. 

Methods: The TDMI was sent electronically to 827 Navy and civilian nurses assigned to a MTF via an email invitation with link to Survey Monkey. Data collection took place in two sessions: April-June and October-November 2010. 

Sample: The resulting sample was 211 with 190 complete responses. Sample demographics include 77% Female, 74% White, 39% Active Duty, 19% Reserves, and 35% Civilian.  Ages ranged from 23-68 years, with years of experience from less than 1 year to over 50. All military ranks were represented and educational preparations ranged from Licensed Practical Nurse to PhD. Specialty practice varied with ambulatory nursing representing 23% of sample, medical surgical nursing (19%), critical care nursing (13%), emergency nursing (13%), and maternal child nursing (11%). 

Analysis: SPSS (PASW 18) was used to summarize descriptive data and to perform exploratory factor analysis.

Findings: Principal component analysis with varimax rotation resulted in 3 factors accounting for 53.2 % of variance: Factor 1 Cognitive Abilities (41.7%), Factor 2, Experience (7%), and Factor 3, Intuition (4.5%). Eigenvalues ranged from 1.69 to 15.5 and factor loading ranged from .501 to .802. Cronbach's alph for each factor ranged from .858- .922. The three factors supported the initial concept definition of triage decision making.

Implications for Military Nursing:   Future research needs to focus on testing in large diverse military samples. A valid and reliable triage instrument can be used to evaluate training strategies that prepare military nurses for operational settings.


Final Report is available on NTRL: