Among the many and diverse activities carried out by nurses, many are organized within the context of a group approach. The realization that there were no systematized studies in Brazil, capable of providing parameters that would help to understand how nurses use this resource, motivated the authors to develop this study, whose objective was to review scientific literature on the use of group activity, as it relates to the work carried out by nurses, between 1980 and 2003. This was a descriptive/exploratory research developed through a bibliographic review in Brazilian journals, on the basis of a specific protocol. We were able to identify 151 articles that were reviewed in terms of the expansion of this knowledge and the different situations in which a group is used by nurses. The qualitative analysis done on pre-established categories enabled the authors to verify that nurses have been using this technique while delivering care, producing knowledge and developing human resources. This investigation allowed us to outline a panoramic view of this literature and to develop a catalogue, identifying important aspects in the construction of this knowledge by Brazilian nursing personnel.
nursing; focus groups; nursing research