The objective of this study was to report the nurses' perceptions regarding health promotion, describe health promotion activities, and identify difficulties in performing health promotion activities in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). This descriptive, exploratory study was performed with 31 nurses from two adult ICUs and one neonatal ICU of a reference hospital in Fortaleza, Ceará, Brazil, between July and August 2009, using a questionnaire. Data were analyzed and categorized using Bardin's content analysis. The following categories and subcategories emerged: the concept of health promotion: biomedical and holistic view of health promotion; health promotion activities; communication and emotional support for patients/family; health promotion in the ICU; health promotion focusing on health education; and the difficulties in developing health promotion activities.
Health promotion; Intensive Care Units; Nursing care