Development and reliability testing of the Scale for the
Evaluation of Staff‐Patient Interactions in Progress Notes
(SESPI) : an assessment instrument of mental health nursing
Aim: To develop and test the reliability of the Scale for the Evaluation of Staff‐Patient
Interactions in Progress Notes (SESPI). Therapeutic nurse–patient interactions are
fundamental in mental health nursing. However, little is known about how these interactions
are recorded in nursing documentation and there is no instrument available
for collecting this type of information for quantitative analysis.
Design: Instrument development and reliability testing.
Methods: The development of the SESPI was based on qualitative analyses of progress
notes retrieved from patient records in two mental health services. A self psychological
attunement perspective guided the analyses. SESPI was tested for internal
consistency and inter‐rater reliability after 22 nurses independently scored 10 progress
Results: Cronbach's alpha for the entire instrument was 0.977, indicating that the
raters’ scores had very high internal consistency. ICC was 0.770. The alpha and ICC
values for each step were high, varying between 0.970 and 0.992.
Keywords: empathy, inpatients, instrument development, medical record, nurse–patient relations,
nursing assessment, psychiatric nursing