• communication;
  • nursing practice;
  • peer-review;
  • qualitative methods;
  • randomized controlled trial;
  • recruitment;
  • training



A discussion and qualitative evaluation of the use of peer-review to train nurses and optimize recruitment practice in a randomized controlled trial.


Sound recruitment processes are critical to the success of randomized controlled trials. Nurses recruiting to trials must obtain consent for an intervention that is administered for reasons other than anticipated benefit to the patient. This requires not only patients' acquiescence but also evidence that they have weighed the relevant information in reaching their decision. How trial information is explained is vital, but communication and training can be inadequate.


A discussion of a new process to train nurses recruiting to a randomized controlled trial.

Data Sources

Literature from 1999–2013 about consenting to trials is included. Over 3 months from 2009–2010, recruiting nurses reviewed recruitment interviews recorded during the pilot phase of a single-site randomized controlled trial and noted content, communication style and interactions. They discussed their findings during peer-review meetings, which were audio-recorded and analysed using qualitative methodology.

Implications for Nursing

Peer-review can enhance nurses' training in trial recruitment procedures by supporting development of the necessary communication skills, facilitating consistency in information provision and sharing best practice.


Nurse-led peer-review can provide a forum to share communication strategies that will elicit and address participant concerns and obtain evidence of participant understanding prior to consent. Comparing practice can improve consistency and accuracy of trial information and facilitate identification of recruitment issues. Internal peer-review was well accepted and promoted team cohesion. Further evaluation is needed.