Aims and objectives. To define the core elements of perioperative nursing.
Background. To measure the nursing care intensity in operating departments and day surgery units, a consensus on the content of perioperative nursing is required. The core elements of perioperative nursing were initially defined based on literature and the clinical expertise of the national workgroup. Suggested core elements were verified in this study. Because healthcare systems constantly suffer from limited resources, while patients are legitimated and ethically justified good nursing care, it is essential to produce reliable information for resource allocation.
Design. Descriptive survey using Delphi technique.
Methods. The purposeful sample of 55 experts was invited to participate in the Delphi panel to evaluate the suggested core elements of perioperative nursing. Two nationwide Delphi rounds were conducted. The response rates were 89% and 49%, respectively. Content Validity Index was calculated for each component.
Results. The Delphi panel accepted the suggested core elements that were seen describing the core of perioperative nursing.
Conclusion. The initially defined core elements of perioperative nursing were verified in this study, with the core elements describing patient’s safety as crucial in perioperative nursing. Those concerning patients’ needs of information, communication with significant others, patients’ coping mechanisms and mental well-being or administrating basic care – for example hygiene – were not seen to be as fundamental as those describing physiological needs.
Relevance to clinical practice. The results of this study can be used as an initial step when constructing an instrument for measuring the nursing care intensity in perioperative settings. In the future, the instrument may provide objective evidence of nursing care intensity and thus facilitate resource allocation. A further significance of this study lies in its potential to make perioperative nursing visible, so the nursing outcomes may be evaluated and proved.