Research Priorities of Adult Intensive Care Nurses in 20 European Countries: A Delphi Study

Blackwood et al. (2011) full text summary PDF

For which topic were research priorities identified?

intensive care nursing

In which location was the research priority setting conducted?

Asia - Turkey; Europe - Austria; Europe - Belgium; Europe - Croatia; Europe - Cyprus; Europe - Denmark; Europe - Finland; Europe - France; Europe - Germany; Europe - Greece; Europe - Hungary; Europe - Iceland; Europe - Italy; Europe - Netherlands; Europe - Norway; Europe - Slovenia; Europe - Spain; Europe - Sweden; Europe - Switzerland; Europe - United Kingdom

Why was it conducted at all?

It is universally recognized that intensive care research presents particular challenges due to the diversity in patient population, clinical practice and contexts. Furthermore, the numbers of patients are relatively small in comparison to other populations in clinical and health service research (Goldfrad et al. 2000). Although multicentre studies can help to overcome these difficulties, the reality is that financial and human resources are limited and must be used judicially which calls for focused research on priority areas.

What was the objective?

to identify research topics among European intensive care nurses, to prioritize and reach consensus on the identified research topics, and to create an intensive care nursing research agenda in Europe

What was the outcome?

a ranking list of 20 research topics

How long did the research prioritization take?

October 2006 - April 2009

Which methods were used to identify research priorities?


How were the priorities for research identified exactly?

Step 1: Delphi round 1: survey asking participants what they considered to be the most important research topics (a maximum of five was permitted) for the care of critically ill adults, 420 topics submitted. Step 2: data processing: data cleaning resulted in 52 research topics grouped into 12 domains. Step 3: Delphi round 2: survey asking participants to rate importance of each of the 52 research topics. Step 4: Delphi round 3: participants invited to review and rate research topics thereby taking into consideration group mean values of round 2.

Which stakeholders took part?

Intensive care nurses from 20 European Critical Care Nursing Associations. 110 participants in Delphi round 1, 66 participants in Delphi round 2 and 58 participants in Delphi round 3.

How were stakeholders recruited?

Elected representatives from the 20 European countries serving on the Council of the EfCCNa in 2006 were asked to consult with their national associations and identify and recruit up to a maximum of six critical care nursing leaders. The sample was to include nurses who were currently involved in the national board of their association (N=2), who were engaged in direct patient care (N=2) and actively involved in intensive care research (N=2). Inclusion criteria were that nominated individuals had given voluntary consent to participate in the study; had email and internet access; gave consent for their email address to be available to the research team; and had a reasonable command of English language. Nurses working in the field of paediatric and/or neonatal critical care were excluded as the priorities of these populations may differ from those of adults.

Were stakeholders actively involved or did they just participate?

Stakeholders were mere participants of the research prioritization process; they were not actively involved in the process.