Skip to main content

Volume 3 Supplement 1


International nursing advanced competency-based training for intensive care: a europe-wide survey


The role of the ICU nurse is becoming increasingly complex and Intensive Care nursing (ICN) is regarded as a highly specialised area of nursing. Across Europe pre-registration nursing programs have some consistency, however there is no consensus on education or practice requirements for ICN despite increasing clinical demand.


The objectives of this study were to map adult ICN training programs throughout Europe; examine what competency based training has been developed for ICN, and review current educational structures and process to enable possible barriers to a Europe-wide competency-based training program to be identified.


Modelled on the CoBaTrICE study [1], a survey was distributed through ICN networks throughout Europe to collect data on current ICN training and education, methods of assessment/ accreditation and regulatory frameworks/guidelines that inform ICN education and training.


Survey data was collected in 2014. Thirty-two responses were received, representing 24 countries in Europe. Whilst most countries (83%) reported presence of national ICN society, ICN was recognised as a specialty area in only 54% of countries. ICN education was provided in 66% of countries, across a mix of settings (50%) and at university (25%), resulting in a variety of qualifications. Prior experience in ICU was required in 43.8% of countries prior to formal ICN education, and programs ranges in duration from 240 hours to 2 years. Regardless of whether formal ICN education was provided, most countries reported challenges: lack of national standard, lack of time and lack of protection for the title.


Regardless of the WHO ICN curriculum [2], there remains considerable variation across Europe in terms of education, certification, regulation and scope of practice for specialist ICN nursing roles. This highlights the need for standardisation to reduce role confusion, enable mobility of the ICN workforce and promote equivalence in advanced ICN practice roles.

Grant Acknowledgment



  1. Barrett H, Bion J: An international survey of training in adult intensive care medicine. Intensive care medicine. 2005, 31: 553-561. 10.1007/s00134-005-2583-7.

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  2. World Health Organization: WHO Europe critical care nursing curriculum: WHO European strategy for continuing education for nurses and midwives e81552: Copenhagen. 2003, 38-

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Rights and permissions

Open Access  This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made.

The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder.

To view a copy of this licence, visit

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Endacott, R., Jones, C., Blot, S. et al. International nursing advanced competency-based training for intensive care: a europe-wide survey. ICMx 3 (Suppl 1), A920 (2015).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • DOI: