Objective: to develop and psychometrically evaluate a scale to measure midwives' perceptions of their levels of empowerment.
Design: a cross-sectional postal survey, carried out in May 2005.
Participants: a random sample of midwives practising in Ireland (n = 244).
Measurement and findings: the Perceptions of Empowerment in Midwifery Scale (PEMS) was developed and psychometrically evaluated in this study. Exploratory factor analysis was performed on the scale, using Principal Axis Factoring with an oblique (Direct Oblimin) rotation. This suggested three sub-scales: autonomous practice; effective management and women-centred practice. The scale was found to be a valid and reliable instrument.
Key conclusions: the PEMS is an appropriate tool. to measure midwives' perceptions of their levels of empowerment. Implications for practice: within the current context of change in Irish midwifery, this research facilitates the articulation and measurement of the conditions that facilitate empowerment in midwifery, which can assist in enhancing the midwifery contribution to maternity care. (C) 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.