University of Oulu

Eeva Talus, Hanna Seppänen, Kristina Mikkonen, Anna-Kaija Palomaa, Tarja Pölkki, The competence of neonatal intensive care nurses: A systematic review, Nurse Education Today, Volume 128, 2023, 105892, ISSN 0260-6917,

The competence of neonatal intensive care nurses : a systematic review

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Author: Talus, Eeva1,2; Seppänen, Hanna1,2; Mikkonen, Kristina1,2;
Organizations: 1Research Unit of Health Sciences and Technology, University of Oulu, Finland Medical Research Center Oulu, Oulu University Hospital and University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
2The Finnish Centre for Evidence-Based Health Care: A Joanna Briggs Institute, The Finnish Centre of Excellence, Helsinki, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.6 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Elsevier, 2023
Publish Date: 2023-07-07


Objective: The objective was to conduct a systematic review describing the competencies required from nurses working in neonatal intensive care settings.

Design: Systematic review.

Data sources: A total of eight databases, including PubMed, Scopus, CINAHL, MEDLINE, Mednar, Web of Science, ProQuest and Medic, were screened for relevant literature during February and September 2022.

Review methods: The systematic review process followed Joanna Briggs Institute guidelines. The inclusion criteria were: 1) (P = population) registered nurses; 2) (C = concept) the competence; 3) (C = context) nursing in neonatal intensive care units; and 4) cross-sectional study as study method. A critical appraisal tool for cross-sectional studies from Joanna Briggs Institute was used by two independent reviewers. After data extraction, thematic analysis was performed.

Results: The database searches yielded a total of 8887 studies and after two independent evaluations, a total of 50 eligible studies were identified comprising of 7536 registered nurses working in neonatal intensive care units across 19 countries. The studies described four main competence themes: 1) neonatal care interventions; 2) caring for a dying infant; 3) family-centered care; and 4) neonatal intensive care interventions.

Conclusion: Previous research has focused on evaluating specific competencies that are necessary in the neonatal intensive care setting. There is a need for research concerning the overall competence of nurses working in neonatal intensive care units. There was a lot of variety within the quality of the eligible studies and within the used instruments.

Protocol registration: This systematic review was registered in Prospero (PROSPERO 2022 CRD42022308028).

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Series: Nurse education today
ISSN: 0260-6917
ISSN-E: 1532-2793
ISSN-L: 0260-6917
Volume: 128
Article number: 105892
DOI: 10.1016/j.nedt.2023.105892
Type of Publication: A2 Review article in a scientific journal
Field of Science: 316 Nursing
Funding: This study was funded by the Finnish Nursing Education Foundation sr. through a grant awarded to Eeva Talus.
Copyright information: © 2023 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (