The aim of this study was to develop a valid instrument to measure student nurses’ perceptions of community care (SCOPE). DeVellis’ staged model for instrument development and validation was used. Scale construction of SCOPE was based on existing literature. Evaluation of its psychometric properties included exploratory factor analysis and reliability analysis. After pilot-testing, 1062 bachelor nursing students from six institutions in the Netherlands (response rate 81%) took part in the study. SCOPE is a 35-item scale containing: background variables, 11 measuring the affective component, 5 measuring community care perception as a placement, 17 as a future profession, and 2 on the reasons underlying student preference. Principal axis factoring yielded two factors in the affective component scale reflecting ‘enjoyment’ and ‘utility’, two in the placement scale reflecting ‘learning possibilities’ and ‘personal satisfaction’, and four in the profession scale: ‘professional development’, ‘collaboration’, ‘caregiving’, and ‘complexity and workload’. Cronbach’s α of the complete scale was .892 and of the subscales .862, .696, and .810 respectively. SCOPE is a psychometrically sound instrument for measuring students’ perceptions of community care. By determining these perceptions, it becomes possible to positively influence them with targeted curriculum redesign, eventually contributing to decreasing the workforce shortage in community nursing.