BACKGROUND: There is growing evidence that non-Indigenous health students engage with cultural safety content in complex emotional ways. Identifying those emotions may contribute to transformative learning. OBJECTIVES: To develop and test a measure of student emotion using an approach that centres relevant theory and First Peoples' perspectives, values and lived realities. DESIGN: This study used a descriptive, cohort design. PARTICIPANTS AND SETTING: All health professional students enrolled in an undergraduate Australian First Peoples health course (n = 616) were invited to complete an online survey. METHODS: A staged approach to tool development included: (1) item generation; (2) response selection; (3) expert review; (4) pilot testing, and (5) psychometric testing of the 20-item draft tool. Tests included item analysis, principal components analysis with varimax rotation, subscale analysis, and internal reliability. RESULTS: One hundred and nine surveys were analysed (17.7% response rate) predominantly from nursing and midwifery students (n = 96, 88.1%). Testing resulted in the development of the two-scaled Student Emotional Learning in Cultural Safety Instrument (SELCSI). The 12-item Witnessing scale revealed three factors explaining 62.17% of variance, and the 8-item Comfort scale had two factors explaining 67.62% of the variance. Cronbach's alpha showed good internal consistency (Witnessing scale α = 0.78; Comfort scale α = 0.88). There was a correlation between mean Witnessing (M = 50.06, SD 5.66) and Comfort (M = 32.44, SD 5.01) scores (r = 0.47, p < 0.001, 95% CI [0.304-0.643]). CONCLUSIONS: The two scales of students' emotional learning were found to have preliminary validity and reliability. Use of the tool has important theoretical, pedagogical and methodological considerations for cultural safety in nursing and midwifery education. This tool may contribute to understanding how nursing and midwifery students learn to practice in culturally safe ways.
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