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Critiquing a Qualitative Research StudyTamara Wheeler-StineStevenson UniversityFebruary 3, 2011

Critiquing a Qualitative Research Study This critique discusses the article entitled, What is it so stressful about caring for a dying patient? A qualitative study of nurses experiences, by Peterson, J., Johnson, M., Halvorsen, B.,Apmann, L., Chang, P-C., Kershek, S., Scherr, C., Ogi, M., Pincon, D., (Peterson et al, 2010, p.181). This research article discusses a study that was performed to help better understand the reasons that caringfor dying patients can be stressful for nurses. The article also offers findings related to the study andoffers recommendations based on the results. This study provides a persuasive and effective conclusionthat education is needed for nurses that are caring for dying patients. The article immediately allowed the reader to understand the purpose of the research study andthe findings associated with the study. The title is clear and unambiguous; however, after reading theabstract within the article, the title clearly lacked accuracy. The title lacks an important component of thestudy. The abstract clearly states that the nursing shortage is due to nursing burnout. Since the openingline of the abstract is about the nursing shortage, perhaps the nursing shortage should be clearly identifiedwithin the title of the article. When evaluating the abstract found within the article, I first answered the question, does the abstract offer a clear overview of the study? This abstract tells the reader that the main problem is thenursing shortage. The abstract allows the reader to understand that the nursing shortage is related tonursing burnout and stress. One reason for burnout and stress, according to the study, is the care nurses provide to dying patients. The abstract continues to let the reader know that the study was performed toexamine the experiences of nurses and their particular concerns about caring for a dying patient.(Peterson et al, 2010, p.181) However, the abstract provided a general overview of the samplemethodology it did not get into specifics, it just said nurses. The findings were clearly stated in the lastsentence of the abstract.

The purpose of the study is clearly identified by this line, This study examines the experiencesof nurses and their particular concerns about

caring for a dying patient. A clearer understanding of theconcerns in this situation can lead to more effective training and coping services for nurses. (Peterson etal, 2010, p.181) The article tells the reader that within the study, they plan to identify nurses concernsregarding the dying patient. The purpose of the study is to provide a clearer understanding, of suchconcerns and as a result will lead to an effective training program.This research studys literature review allowed the reader to identify the research question andhow the study plans to derive answers. In summary, this literature review gives the intent of this studywithin the following question: What are the specific aspects of caring for a dying patient that concernnurses? (Peterson et al, 2010, p.181) The literature review in this study also allows the reader tounderstand some of the specific concerns/stressors experienced by nurses when dealing with a dying patient. For example, common clinical stressors experienced by nurses are a) watching a patient suffer b) death of a patient, and c) listening to or talking with a patient about his or her imminent death. (Peterson et al, 2010, p.181) The literature review in this article identifies several resources that arelinked to nurses and their feelings regarding caring for the dying patient.The theoretical framework helps the reader identify the model/theme that is used to guide thestudy. The theoretical framework was clearly identified within the study. It was described clearly asfollows: In order to examine this research question, a qualitative grounded theory approach wasemployed for two key reasons. Firstly, to understand the concerns that nurses' have about caring for patients, it was important to gain knowledge about their experiences in their own words. Secondly, because this is potentially an emotionally charged topic, the flexibility and openness of the interview andanalysis process allowed the emotional dimension to be examined. (Peterson et al, 2010, p.182) Thereader understands that the study will involve interviews or surveys of a group of nurses. Theseinterviews, according to the above citation, will allow for the emotional aspect of the interview to beexamined by the researchers

The sampling method and sample size were clearly identified in the study. The study participants were 15 nurses and nursing students. (Peterson et al, 2010,p.182) These fifteen individualswere selected in either a face-to-face interview or via online survey. I feel the sampling method of onlinesurvey and face-to-face interviews were appropriate for this study. The next question, were the participants suitable for informing research? Out of the fifteen participants only twelve were presentlyworking in the medical field; however, all the participants had experience caring for a dying patient. Inmy opinion since they had all cared for a dying patient, they should be suitable for the study.The data collection strategies were clearly described within the data analysis. The study alsorevealed how the data was analyzed. It seems that

the researchers followed the steps of the data analysiswhich was identified; however, this is not clearly stated within the data analysis. The data analysis alsodoes not clearly state that they achieved enough data; however, it does give results so it allows the reader to assume that the amount of data collected was sufficient enough to perform the study. Within thisstudy, transcripts and audiotapes were reviewed as well as compared to initial interviews and onlinesurveys. Since this is a qualitative study, interviews and surveys are appropriate. According to the participants section only nine of the fifteen participants completed the Frommelt attitudes toward nursingcare of the dying scale. (Peterson et al, 2010,p.183) In regards to the surveys and interviews, eachmember participated.The author of this study did not identify measures taken to ensure autonomy, confidentiality andfreedom of harm. As far as ethical permission being obtained for the study, it is not clearly stated, but the participants did willingly participate in the face-to-face interviews and online survey process.The author discussed rigor within the limitations and future research section of the study. Theauthor lets the reader know that he or she should recognize the limitations of this study. The first of which is the small sample size of nurses. The second is the variation of education levels and experienceamongst the participants. The use of online surveys was also a limitation as well because the length of the answers varied amongst the participants. The credibility, dependability, transferability, and goodness of the researchers and participants were discussed by telling the reader that the study did require theapproval of the Institutional Review Board for the Protection of Human subjects. Overall, the study andthe process by which data was obtained are clearly identified.The findings/results section of this research study is clearly identified. The results are separatedinto three different categories, personal concerns, concerns about the patient and concerns about family.The findings of the research study are significant. It revealed, One reason that communication issuesmay be the primary concern of nurses caring for dying patients is a lack of training. (Peterson et al,2010, p.186) The original purpose of the study was to identify stressors within the nurse in regards to thedying patient which the study did identify.Within the conclusion, the reader is able to identify the importance of the findings. The mostimportant take home message of this study is the following: In order to help nurses cope moreeffectively in this situation, communication training programmes are needed not only to benefit thenurses, but to provide the best care for their patients. (Peterson et al, 2010, p.186) The conclusionallowed the reader to understand that the study did serve a purpose and the implications that this study hason nursing practice.Last but not least, the reference section clearly identified all resources used for the study. Thereferences were clearly identified after the conclusion and references were made throughout the articleregarding these resources.After analyzing each section of this research article, I was able to gain a better understanding for this study. I was also able to understand the methods and

processes involved within the study. Thearticle clearly identified the majority of the elements which should be found within a Qualitative ResearchStudy. Most importantly, this article has the potential to influence nursing practice. Research isimportant in nursing, after all, how do we determine what is best in our practice?

REFERENCES Brown, S. (2012). Evidence-Based Nursing: The Research-Practice Connection , 2nd edition.Sudbury,MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.Peterson, J., Johnson, M., Halvorsen, B., Apmann, L., Chang, P-C., Kershek, S., Scherr, C., Ogi, M.,Pincon, D. (2010). What is it so stressful about caring for a dying patient? A qualitative study of nurses experiences.

International Journal of Palliative Nursing , Volume 16, No.4, p.181-187.