Objective: To determine and prioritize the research competencies that should be acquired by nurses in distinct educational (graduate, masters, doctorate) and clinical practice settings (basic, intermediate and advanced) and in specialized training.
Method: An observational, descriptive, cross sectional study was performed in 2006. The generic and specific competencies for each of the 7 above-mentioned settings were established and sent by electronic mail to a group of experts who were asked to evaluate each competency on a scale from 1 to 5 (1 = not important, 5 = very important).
Results: Evaluations were received from 34 (74%) of the 46 experts contacted. Of the general competencies, those receiving the highest scores, with a median of 5 points, were "ethical commitment" and "ability to work in a team". Among the specific competencies, those most highly scored were "awareness of the need to base nursing practice on the results of scientific research", "ability to critically read the scientific literature" and "ability to base nursing practice on the results of scientific research and the best available evidence". For doctorates and advanced-level nursing, most of the competencies, both general and specific, obtained a median score of 5 points.
Conclusions: The most highly scored competencies were those relating to critical thinking, ethics and information analysis at each of the three levels of nursing training. Knowledge of English and interpersonal skills were less highly valued.