Open Access Research article

Online training course on critical appraisal for nurses: adaptation and assessment

Eva Reviriego1*, María Ángeles Cidoncha2, José Asua3, Marie Pierre Gagnon4, Maider Mateos1, Lucía Gárate5, Elena de Lorenzo6 and Rosa María González7

Author Affiliations

1 Researcher, Basque Office for Health Technology Assessment, Ministry for Health, Basque Government, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain

2 Lecturer and Nursing Researcher in the Basque Health Service-Osakidetza, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain

3 Head of Basque Office for Health Technology Assessment, Ministry for Health, Basque Government, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain

4 Associate Professor. Faculty of Nursing Sciences, Université Laval, Québec, Research Centre of the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Québec, Québec, Canada

5 Nursing Research Supervisor, Araba University Hospital, Basque Health Service-Osakidetza, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain

6 Associate Professor, School of Nursing of Vitoria-Gasteiz, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain

7 Subdivision of Quality, Office for the Strategy of Chronicity, Basque Health Service-Osakidetza, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain

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BMC Medical Education 2014, 14:136  doi:10.1186/1472-6920-14-136

Published: 5 July 2014



Research is an essential activity for improving quality and efficiency in healthcare. The objective of this study was to train nurses from the public Basque Health Service (Osakidetza) in critical appraisal, promoting continuous training and the use of research in clinical practice.


This was a prospective pre-post test study. The InfoCritique course on critical appraisal was translated and adapted. A sample of 50 nurses and 3 tutors was recruited. Educational strategies and assessment instruments were established for the course. A course website was created that contained contact details of the teaching team and coordinator, as well as a course handbook and videos introducing the course. Assessment comprised the administration of questionnaires before and after the course, in order to explore the main intervention outcomes: knowledge acquired and self-learning readiness. Satisfaction was also measured at the end of the course.


Of the 50 health professionals recruited, 3 did not complete the course for personal or work-related reasons. The mean score on the pre-course knowledge questionnaire was 70.5 out of 100, with a standard deviation of 11.96. In general, participants’ performance on the knowledge questionnaire improved after the course, as reflected in the notable increase of the mean score, to 86.6, with a standard deviation of 10.00. Further, analyses confirmed statistically significant differences between pre- and post-course results (p < 0.001). With regard to self-learning readiness, after the course, participants reported a greater readiness and ability for self-directed learning. Lastly, in terms of level of satisfaction with the course, the mean score was 7 out of 10.


Participants significantly improved their knowledge score and self-directed learning readiness after the educational intervention, and they were overall satisfied with the course. For the health system and nursing professionals, this type of course has the potential to provide methodological tools for research, promote a research culture, and encourage critical thinking for evidence-based decision making.

Evidence-based practice; Critical appraisal; Nursing; E-learning