Do we need tailored training and development plans for European Union respiratory nurses?

Silvia Arranz Allonso, Helle Marie Christensen, David Díaz- Pérez, Georgia Narsavage, José Miguel Padilha, Juan Carlos Quijano-Campos, Andreja Sajnic, Caroline Stridsman, Helmut Täubl, Ann-Britt Zakrisson, Marco Clari

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Respiratory diseases inflict a massive health burden worldwide, affecting >1 billion people. COPD, asthma, acute lower respiratory tract infections, tuberculosis and lung cancer are among the most common causes of severe illness and death globally [1]. Respiratory nurses are key members of the pulmonary healthcare team caring for people in acute settings, as well as in primary care, providing a wide range of interventions from ventilation to palliative care. Their specialised roles deliver both autonomous and prescribed interventions [2–6].

Worldwide, the recognition of respiratory nurses has been effective in improving the quality of care and patients' outcomes. In Australia and the USA, the scope and role of respiratory nurses has been well defined and established for 30 years [7]. In 2017, the European Respiratory Society (ERS) documented that allied respiratory professionals (ARPs) “are involved in the prevention, diagnosis, evaluation, treatment and management of respiratory diseases” [8]; however, the role of respiratory nurses within the ARPs was not clearly delineated. In the European Union (EU) only Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the UK have a formal respiratory specialisation for nurses, and the competences and education levels of respiratory nurses vary from one European country to another. Currently, there is a lack of consensus on the definition, role and activities of respiratory nurses. Thus, it is challenging to understand which specialist care would be best provided by respiratory nurses, and respiratory nursing roles in joint research projects and educational programmes remain unclear. It is imperative that respiratory nurses themselves define the scope of respiratory nursing and replace a general description such as “nurses taking care of people with pulmonary diseases”, with the clarity needed for harmonised, tailored training and development plans.

Defining and outlining the scope of practice, role and activities of respiratory nurses is of utmost importance to establish the components of advanced education for respiratory nurses. The specialisation, competences and responsibilities of respiratory nurses are still non-existent and not clearly defined in a majority of European countries (table 1) [9]. A unique curriculum for the specialisation of respiratory nurses needs to be created and implemented. Improving higher education, including basic nursing education, was the focus for development and implementation of the Bologna declaration, considered to be the most important reform to enable comparability in educational standards and quality that occurred in Europe in the past 30 years. It aimed to create a more coherent, compatible, comparable and competitive European higher education area to promote governmental inter-cooperation [10]. All countries that have signed the Bologna declaration agreed to strive for the consistency of educational systems across Europe. This agreement is especially important in respiratory nursing. Setting minimum standards of training and competence for specialties, such as in respiratory care, as well as basic nursing education, could help all European nursing schools to implement a coherent curriculum higher nursing education [11]. Initially, a consensus must be found on whether respiratory nurses' education should be an advanced course (<1 year full-time post-graduate), a diploma (1 year full-time post-graduate) or a master's degree (2 years full-time post-graduate).

Udgave nummer2
Antal sider3
StatusUdgivet - jun. 2020


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