Competencies of specialised wound care nurses: a European Delphi study


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Abstract

Health care professionals responsible for patients with complex wounds need a particular level of expertise and education to ensure optimum wound care. However, uniform education for those working as wound care nurses is lacking. We aimed to reach consensus among experts from six European countries as to the competencies for specialised wound care nurses that meet international professional expectations and educational systems. Wound care experts including doctors, wound care nurses, lecturers, managers and head nurses were invited to contribute to an e-Delphi study. They completed online questionnaires based on the Canadian Medical Education Directives for Specialists framework. Suggested competencies were rated on a 9-point Likert scale. Consensus was defined as an agreement of at least 75% for each competence. Response rates ranged from 62% (round 1) to 86% (rounds 2 and 3). The experts reached consensus on 77 (80%) competences. Most competencies chosen belonged to the domain ‘scholar’ (n = 19), whereas few addressed those associated with being a ‘health advocate’ (n = 7). Competencies related to professional knowledge and expertise, ethical integrity and patient commitment were considered most important. This consensus on core competencies for specialised wound care nurses may help achieve a more uniform definition and education for specialised wound care nurses.

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