Using the Interpersonal Skills tool to assess interpersonal skills of internationally educated nurses

Jay J. Shen, Yu Xu, Shelley Staples, Anne L. Bolstad

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Aim: To assess interpersonal skills of internationally educated nurses (IEN) while interacting with standardized patients. Methods: Participants included 52 IEN at two community hospitals in the southwestern region of the USA. Standardized patients were used to create patient-nurse encounter. Seventeen items in four domains ("skills in interviewing and collecting information" ; "skills in counseling and delivering information" ; "rapport" ; and "personal manner") in an Interpersonal Skills (IPS) instrument were measured by a Likert scale 1-4 with 4 indicating the best performance. The average composite score per domain and scores of the 17 items were compared across the domains. Results: On 10 of the 17 items, the nurses received scores under 3. Counseling with an average score of 2.10 and closure with an average score of 2.44 in domain 2, small talk with an average score of 2.06 in domain 3, and physical exam with average score of 2.21 in domain 4 were below 2.5. The average composite score of domain 1 was 3.54, significantly higher than those of domains 2-4 (2.77, 2.81, and 2.71, respectively). Age was moderately related to the average score per domain with every 10 year increase in age resulting in a 0.1 increase in the average score. Sex and country of origin showed mixed results. Conclusion: The interpersonal skills of IEN in three of the four domains need improvement. Well-designed educational programs may facilitate the improvement, especially in areas of small talk, counseling, closure, and physical exam. Future research should examine relationships between the IPS and demographics factors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)171-179
Number of pages9
JournalJapan Journal of Nursing Science
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Internationally educated nurses
  • Interpersonal skill
  • Standardized patient
  • Transition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Research and Theory


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