Exploring Research Topics and Trends in Nursing-related Communication in Intensive Care Units Using Social Network Analysis

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This study used social network analysis to identify the main research topics and trends in nursing-related communication in intensive care units. Keywords from January 1967 to June 2016 were extracted from PubMed using Medical Subject Headings terms. Social network analysis was performed using Gephi software. Research publications and newly emerging topics in nursing-related communication in intensive care units were classified into five chronological phases. After the weighting was adjusted, the top five keyword searches were “conflict,” “length of stay,” “nursing continuing education,” “family,” and “nurses.” During the most recent phase, research topics included “critical care nursing,” “patient handoff,” and “quality improvement.” The keywords of the top three groups among the 10 groups identified were related to “neonatal nursing and practice guideline,” “infant or pediatric and terminal care,” and “family, aged, and nurse-patient relations,” respectively. This study can promote a systematic understanding of communication in intensive care units by identifying topic networks. Future studies are needed to conduct large prospective cohort studies and randomized controlled trials to verify the effects of patient-centered communication in intensive care units on patient outcomes, such as length of hospital stay and mortality.

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