The Second Triennial Systematic Literature Review of European Nursing Research: Impact on Patient Outcomes and Implications for Evidence-Based Practice
Background: European research in nursing has been criticized as overwhelmingly descriptive, wasteful and with little relevance to clinical practice. This second triennial review follows our previous review of articles published in 2010, to determine whether the situation has changed.
Objective: To identify, appraise, and synthesize reports of European nursing research published during 2013 in the top 20 nursing research journals.
Methods: Systematic review with descriptive results synthesis.
Results: We identified 2,220 reports, of which 254, from 19 European countries, were eligible for analysis; 215 (84.7%) were primary research, 36 (14.2%) secondary research, and three (1.2%) mixed primary and secondary. Forty‐eight (18.9%) of studies were experimental: 24 (9.4%) randomized controlled trials, 11 (4.3%) experiments without randomization, and 13 (5.1%) experiments without control group. A total of 106 (41.7%) articles were observational: 85 (33.5%) qualitative research. The majority (158; 62.2%) were from outpatient and secondary care hospital settings. One hundred and sixty‐five (65.0%) articles reported nursing intervention studies: 77 (30.3%) independent interventions, 77 (30.3%) interdependent, and 11 (4.3%) dependent. This represents a slight increase in experimental studies compared with our previous review (18.9% vs. 11.7%). The quality of reporting remained very poor.
Linking Evidence to Action: European research in nursing remains overwhelmingly descriptive. We call on nursing researchers globally to raise the level of evidence and, therefore, the quality of care and patient outcomes. We urge them to replicate our study in their regions, diagnose reasons for the lack of appropriate research, identify solutions, and implement a deliberate, targeted, and systematic global effort to increase the number of experimental, high quality, and relevant studies into nursing interventions. We also call on journal editors to mandate an improvement in the standards of research reporting in nursing journals.