The World Health Assembly declared 2020, the International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife. Recent editorials and commentaries support the leading role of nurses and midwives as frontline caregivers emphasizing the need to invest in the nursing workforce worldwide to meet global health needs. Today nurses are also leaders in research and one example is skin and wound care. In order to reflect on the contribution of nurses as researchers we conducted a systematic review of published articles in five international leading wound care journals in the years 1998, 2008 and 2018. We aimed to determine the type of research publication and percentage of nurses as first, second or senior authors. The place in the authorship was selected as indicative of leadership as it implies responsibility and accountability for the published work. Across the years 1998, 2008 and 2018, 988 articles were published. The overall proportion of nurse‐led articles was 29% (n = 286). The total numbers of articles increased over time and so too did the nurse‐led contributions. Nurse‐led research was strongest in the design categories 'cohort studies' (46%, n = 44), 'systematic reviews' (46%, n = 19), and 'critically appraised literature and evidence‐based guidelines' (47%, n = 55).Results of this review indicate that, in addition to the crucial clinical roles, nurses also have a substantial impact on academia and development of the evidence base to guide clinical practice. Our results suggest that nurse led contributions were particularly strong in research summarizing research to guide skin and wound care practice.