Critical care nursing policy, practice, and research priorities: An international cross-sectional study

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Williams, Ged
Fulbrook, Paul
Alberto, Laura
Kleinpell, Ruth
Christensen, Mathilde
Sitoula, Kabita
Kobuh, Ntogwiachu Daniel
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Purpose To examine the status of critical care nursing internationally, assess the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and identify research priorities by surveying professional critical care nursing organizations (CCNOs) worldwide.

Design A descriptive survey methodology was used. This study is the sixth worldwide quadrennial review to assess international critical care nursing needs and provide evidence to inform critical care nursing policy, practice and research priorities globally.

Methods The sixth World Federation of Critical Care Nurses survey of CCNOs was emailed to potential participants from countries with CCNOs or known critical care nurse leaders. Data were collected online using Survey Monkey™. Responses were entered into SPSS version 28 software (IBM Corp.) and analyzed by geographical region and national wealth group.

Findings Ninety-nine national representative respondents participated in the survey (70.7% response rate). The most important issues identified were working conditions, teamwork, staffing levels, formal practice guidelines, wages, and access to quality education programs. The top five CCNO services that were of most importance were providing national conferences, local conferences, workshops and education forums, practice standards and guidelines, and professional representation. Important pandemic-related services and activities provided by CCNOs included addressing emotional and mental well-being of nurses, providing guidance related to nurse staffing/workforce needs, assisting to coordinate efforts to obtain personal protective equipment supplies, serving as a country liaison with the World Health Organization's COVID-19 response activities, and assisting in the development and implementation of policies regarding standards of care. The most important contributions expected from the World Federation of Critical Care Nurses were standards for professional practice, standards for clinical practice, website resources, professional representation, and providing online education and training materials. The top five research priority areas were: stress levels (inclusive of burnout, emotional exhaustion and compassion fatigue); critical care nursing shortage, skill mix and workforce planning; recruitment, retention, turnover, working conditions; critical care nursing education and patient outcomes; and adverse events, staffing levels, patient outcomes.

Conclusions The results highlight priority areas for critical care nursing internationally. The COVID-19 pandemic impacted critical care nurses as direct care providers. As a result, addressing the ongoing needs of critical care nurses remains a priority area of focus. The results also highlight important policy and research priorities for critical care nursing globally. Results of this survey should be incorporated into strategic action plans at the national and international levels.

Clinical Relevance Issues of importance to critical care nurses including research and policy priorities during and following COVID-19 are now clarified through this survey. The impact and importance that COVID-19 has had on critical care nurses and their preferences and priorities are provided. Clear guidance to leaders and policy makers on where critical care nurses would like to see greater focus and attention to help strengthen the contribution of critical care nursing practice to the global healthcare agenda.

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Journal of Nursing Scholarship
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© 2023 The Authors. Journal of Nursing Scholarship published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of Sigma Theta Tau International. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.
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Williams, G; Fulbrook, P; Alberto, L; Kleinpell, R; Christensen, M; Sitoula, K; Kobuh, ND, Critical care nursing policy, practice, and research priorities: An international cross-sectional study, Journal of Nursing Scholarship, 2023, 55 (5), pp. 1044-1057