Researching competences in Nursing professionals of Primary Health Care: urgent need

EDUMECENTRO 2022;14:e1719


Researching competences in Nursing professionals of Primary Health Care: urgent need

Competencias investigativas en profesionales de Enfermería de la Atención Primaria de Salud: necesidad inaplazable


Violeta Robles Mirabal1*
Catalina Adelina Serrano Díaz1
Armando Estrada García1
Yaima Miranda Veitía1


1 Matanzas University of Medical Sciences. "Juan Guiteras Gener". Faculty of Medical Sciences. Matanzas. Cuba.


* Author for correspondence. Email:




Nursing is a profession that must research on different and better ways of providing care based on the advancement of knowledge and results obtained through research. This profession has two commitments: to respond to the health demands of a dynamic society where scientific and technological knowledge is rapidly becoming obsolete; and as a discipline, generate knowledge, disseminate it and apply it to improve care for people and social groups; However, not all its professionals are aware of the need to maintain an active and permanent search through professional improvement, so these authors highlight the importance of developing their researching competencies in connection, fundamentally, with primary health care.

MeSH: health services research; Primary Health Care; community health nursing; medical education.


La enfermería es una profesión que debe investigar distintas y mejores formas de brindar cuidados basados en el avance de los conocimientos y resultados obtenidos mediante la investigación. Esta profesión tiene dos compromisos: responder a las demandas de salud de una sociedad dinámica donde los conocimientos científicos y tecnológicos se hacen obsoletos con gran rapidez; y como disciplina, generar conocimientos, divulgarlos y aplicarlos para mejorar el cuidado a las personas y grupos sociales; sin embargo, no todos sus profesionales están conscientes de la necesidad de mantener una búsqueda activa y permanente a través de la superación profesional, por lo que estos autores destacan la importancia de desarrollar sus competencias investigativas en vínculo, en lo fundamental, con la atención primaria de salud.

DeCS: investigación sobre servicios de salud; Atención Primaria de Salud, enfermería en salud comunitaria; educación médica.



Submitted: 28/09/2020 
Accepted: 04/11/2021



At the global level, the evaluation of the competences, functions and job performance of health professionals has constituted, in the last three decades, a permanent concern of health systems to increase the quality of their services, and on the other hand, it has required medical universities to provide the world of work with a professional with adequate capacity and modes of action in a specific work setting.(1)

Nursing is a profession in which different and better ways of providing care must be investigated, based on the advancement of knowledge and evidence obtained through research, in order to offer quality care to the population and generate competent human resources; It has two fundamental social commitments: to respond to the health demands of a dynamic society, where scientific and technological knowledge in the contemporary world becomes obsolete very quickly, and as a discipline, to generate knowledge, disseminate it and apply its findings to improve health care for people and social groups; However, not all of its professionals are aware of the need to maintain an active and permanent search for professional improvement.(2)

Nurses are trained to perform a significant number of procedures and must acquire the ability to identify health problems that allow them to make decisions inherent to professional practice, through the application of the nursing care process as a scientific method of the profession.(3)

In the procedures of the nursing care process, it is common for a Nursing graduate to have difficulties in solving the problems that arise; although they have the theoretical knowledge, sometimes they have not been able to appropriate it to its full extent, and therefore, their resolution skills have not been fully developed. The causes can be varied: it has been shown that professionals, who appropriate mental work procedures that reflect the ways of thinking and work of science in general, can achieve better results in resolution, regardless of the situations that arise in the different work areas, specific to their professional performance.(4)

It is the authors' criterion that the theoretical knowledge acquired is shown in the performance of the functions, but they require systematicity in facing the problems to develop the necessary skills.

The new transformations that are being carried out at the primary level of health care entail modifying the training and preparation of human resources, sustained on the basis of full integration at work. For a good job performance to exist, it is necessary to be competent and take into account the state of existing personal and working conditions.(5)

It is in Primary Health Care (PHC) where the population receives the first services from the basic health team. The PHC nurse is accepted by the community, so their care, advice, psychological and emotional support to the individual and the family will be well received, but they must be competent professionals, with a solid scientific-researching preparation. For this reason, the authors highlight the importance of the acquisition of researching competences in nursing professionals at this level of care for the population.

In Cuba, the evaluation of professional competencies is a current problem in the field of health and studies have been carried out on the subject. Specifically in the PHC, results related to the evaluation of professional competence in the specialties of Nursing and Comprehensive General Medicine are presented, as well as attention to the most frequent health problems in their daily actions.(6)

Being competent refers to the ability of a person to carry out productive work: "to do", in their understanding sense, to know what they are doing and why they are doing it. That is, it uses knowledge, ability and aptitude to carry out a set of activities according to established criteria.(5)

Veliz Martínez et al.,(1) in its study, refer to the classifications of competencies made by various authors, among which are generic competencies for health: general, health care, training, research and health management. Among the general generic competencies are: communication, professional attitude, ethics, morals and citizenship, analysis and interpretation of information, decision-making for solving problems with independence and creativity, social interaction, teamwork and legal responsibility.

Generic health care competencies are divided into: addressing individual and collective health problems: clinical and epidemiological methods, health promotion and disease prevention, diagnosis, therapeutic and environmental behaviors.(1)

Training competencies include didactic, methodological and technological, social education and permanent self-improvement; and researching competences: application of the bases of scientific thought and the use of scientific research methodology.(1)

Among the generic needs for health, the authors emphasize the researching competences as they constitute a problem to be solved in the nursing professionals in their work performance. The need to manage, within their training, the development of researching competences that contribute to understanding and interpreting the action of the nurse in care, teaching, management and research through a body of knowledge that allows differentiating nursing from other disciplines in the health area, it is fundamental and a responsibility of the higher medical education system.(7)

The researching competences of nursing graduates are defined as: "… the system of knowledge, skills, values and qualities of these professionals in correspondence with the researching functions of their professional performance, to offer solutions to problems in nursing care , and the enrichment of the sciences from a scientific base, as well as the design, communication and conduction of the researching process for the satisfaction of the social demands in the quality of life of the population".(8) Sixto Pérez et al.(9) adds that on the conscious use that is made of the techniques and procedures typical of nursing, the success or failure in facing the solution of a professional problem in the healthcare area depends to a great extent. Naturally, the formation of heuristic procedures cannot be spontaneous, it must be a conscious process based on the development of scientific research. It also refers that the development of nursing sciences and excellence in the quality of care depend on this graduate applying its intelligence, creativity and responsibility to solve the problems of professional practice and the exact understanding of objective reality in order to master it, these ideas coincide with those of the authors of this research paper.

It is considered that in the process of developing research competencies in PHC Nursing professionals, there are shortcomings that must be addressed by means of training strategies. Furthermore, insufficient methodological knowledge has been found, evidenced both in research and in publications; hence the need for systematic work aimed at solving this problem.



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Declaration of interests

The authors declare no conflict of interest.



Authors' contribution

Conceptualization and preparation of the final report: Violeta Robles Mirabal and Catalina Adelina Serrano Díaz
Bibliographic search and review of the report: Armando Estrada García and Yaima Miranda Veitía



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