Background. Research is vital to nursing practice especially in an area such as critical care, where nursing practice continues to increase in complexity and nurses assume greater responsibility and accountability for patient care. However, without knowledge of what are the most significant problems or questions affecting the welfare of critically ill patients in Hong Kong, nurses’ research efforts may be directed to areas that are not of highest priority in today's climate of decreasing health care resources and changing health care provision.
Aim. To identify and prioritize research questions of importance to Hong Kong critical care nurses.
Method. A three-round Delphi technique was used to solicit, identify and prioritize problems for critical care nursing research.
Results. Respondents who completed the third round had a mean of 6·25 years of critical care nursing experience. Ninety-one research topics were ranked important or extremely important. Twenty-seven research priorities ranked as extremely important included topics relating to patient care, family care, nursing, technology, alternative interventions, and illness prevention/health promotion research domains. Thirteen research topics were ranked as least important. None of the participants ranked research topics as not important.
Study limitations. Only full-time active members of the Hong Kong Association of Critical Care Nurses participated in this study and they may not necessarily represent the views of all critical care nurses in Hong Kong. In addition, no attempts were made to compare research priorities between specialty groups of nurses.
Conclusion. With the re-structuring of Hong Kong's health care system, critical care nurses are expected to take an active role in advancing the profession, and to be accountable for improving patient outcomes by use of effective, evidence-based interventions. The research priorities identified in this study may provide impetus and direction for critical care nursing research initiatives.