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Rev Panam Salud Publica. 2015 Mar;37(3):162-71.

A systematic review of nursing research priorities on health system and services in the Americas.

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Human Resources for Health, Health Systems and Services Department, Pan American Health Organization, Washington DC, United States of America,
Knowledge Management, Bioethics, and Research Department, Pan American Health Organization, Washington DC, United States of America.



To systematically review literature on priorities in nursing research on health systems and services in the Region of the Americas as a step toward developing a nursing research agenda that will advance the Regional Strategy for Universal Access to Health and Universal Health Coverage.


This was a systematic review of the literature available from the following databases: Web of Science, PubMed, LILACS, and Google. Documents considered were published in 2008-2014; in English, Spanish, or Portuguese; and addressed the topic in the Region of the Americas. The documents selected had their priority-setting process evaluated according to the "nine common themes for good practice in health research priorities." A content analysis collected all study questions and topics, and sorted them by category and subcategory.


Of 185 full-text articles/documents that were assessed for eligibility, 23 were selected: 12 were from peer-reviewed journals; 6 from nursing publications; 4 from Ministries of Health; and 1 from an international organization. Journal publications had stronger methodological rigor; the majority did not present a clear implementation or evaluation plan. After compiling the 444 documents' study questions and topics, the content analysis resulted in a document with 5 categories and 16 subcategories regarding nursing research priorities on health systems and services.


Research priority-setting is a highly important process for health services improvement and resources optimization, but implementation and evaluation plans are rarely included. The resulting document will serve as basis for the development of a new nursing research agenda focused on health systems and services, and shaped to advance universal health coverage and universal access to health.

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