The management of cardiovascular patients requires increasingly competent nursing professionals. In Italy, there are no specific postgraduate courses focused on specialist cardiac skills development for nurses. To develop such courses, content incorporating appropriate competencies is required and this study was designed to meet this. To delineate a set of core competencies to develop national educational interventions to ensure cardiac nurses in Italy achieve international standards.
Methods and results
A three-round e-Delphi study including a panel of 32 expert cardiac nurses from the UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Italy was conducted; 26 respondents completed all three rounds. The first round sought a list of five competencies from each participant which they were asked to prioritize in Round 2. In Round 3, they were asked to prioritize again with the knowledge of the priorities identified in Round 2. The final list of competencies was those achieving 70% agreement among participants. We identified 14 core competencies spanning a range of areas of competence including technical, interpersonal, health promotion, use of evidence, and management. Only minor differences were evident between the Italian and the international panel regarding the priority given to some core competences, such a leadership and taking patient history.
This is the first study in Italy to delineate cardiac nurses’ core competencies. As such, it provides a foundation for the development of postgraduate educational programmes for cardiac nurses including competencies that are congruent with international standards.