Tag Archives: qualitative data

Listen up! Don’t interrupt!

Researchers collect two types of data in their studiescounting-sheetword-art

  1. Numbers (called quantitative data)
  2. Words & narratives (called qualitative data)

StorytellerOne source of rich word or narrative (qualitative) data for answering nursing questions is nurses’ stories.  Dr. Pat Benner RN, author of Novice to Expert explains two things we can do to help nurses fully tell their stories so we can learn the most from their practice.

  1. Listen well without interrupting
  2. Help nurses ‘unpack’ their stories 

Check out this excellent 2:59 video of Dr. Benner’s and revolutionize how you learn about nursing from nursing stories:  Preview: The use of Narratives 

Critical thinking:  For a study using narratives in research see  Leboul et al. (2017).  Palliative sedation challenging the professional competency of health care providers and staff: A qualitative focus group and personal written narrative study.  [full text available thru PubMed at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28399846].    1) Do you think the authors listened and unpacked information from the focus groups & written narratives; 2)  Do you think there might be a difference in the way people write narratives and verbally tell narratives?   3) How might that difference if any affect the research findings?

For more information:  Check out The Power of Story  by Wang & Geale (2015) at http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2352013215000496

 

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Afraid to Relieve Pain? You may have Opiophobia

fear5In pain management are you afraid to give comfort to your patients with appropriate medications?   Are you afraid to be comforted when in pain?  Have you encountered families or care partners, who are afraid to comfort their loved one in pain by giving pain medications?

In a classic 2002 qualitative study, “Fearing to Comfort,” Zerwekh, Riddell, & Richard identified that RNs, physicians, patients, families, and health systems were afraid to relieve pain with appropriate use of pain medications.  They were Not doing evidence-based practice, but fear-based practice. barrier

Fear barriers include, but are not limited to 1) patients’ fear of addiction, fear of distracting the MD from the main treatment plan, and loss of control; 2) MDs’ avoiding the needs of the dying, fear of rewarding drug-seekers, or equating pain management with euthanasia; 3) RNs’ avoiding pain, failing to switch to palliative goals at end of life,  and fear of killing the patient; 4) families’ fears of addiction, side effects, & killing their loved one; and 5) health facilities’ not giving unique consideration to those at end of life, inadequate staffing, & time constraints (Zerwekh et al., 2002).

This is an issue because irrational problems cannot be simply solved by giving rational Pain fistinformation.   We have to find evidence-based practices that can create a change of heart, if you will.  As Zerwekh et al wrote: “Because fear is so influential in decisions to keep pain under control, palliative educational approaches must go beyond providing information to fill deficits in palliative knowledge.”
We must learn evidence-based ways to overcome fear and control pain.  Why?  Because pain interferes with living life.  Who are we protecting when we fear appropriate pain medications?  Not the patient.

FearRemedy?  Palliative care education must confront the fears and remove them through cognitive restructuring that includes learning to question beliefs about addiction etc.  Role playing, role modeling, and an expert walking through this with the provider or family who is afraid.  Beyond this helping people to recognize their own fears of pain & death, and providing the very best available information on pain management (Zerwekh et al).

CRITICAL THINKING:  Have you been afraid?  Or seen others afraid?  How can you solve this problem using evidence-based practice that = BEST available evidence + Clinical judgment + Patient/family preferences & values? Be specific because if you haven’t yet encountered the problem of fearing to comfort, be assured that you will.fear4

FOR MORE INFORMATION:   Read full text Zerwekh et al (2002) online.   It could change your life & the life of those for whom you care!!

Is a Picture Worth 1,000 words?

Sometimes the best way to answer a research question is to have the participants draw pictures & explain them.  In fact, some have identified art as a powerful communication tool between children and researchers.   The pictures are then analyzed for themes that show up in the drawings.  No numbers or statistics are used.

Methods: When Brady (2009) wondered how children defined a “good nurse,” she asked 22 ethnically diverse, hospitalized girls and boys aged 7-12 years to draw a picture of a good nurse and a bad nurse.  After the children drew their pictures she asked them to tell her what the nurse was wearing and doing.

Results & discussion: What did the pictures say? Drawings and comments suggested that the children focused on these 5 thematic characteristics for a good nurse:  “communication; professional competence; safety; professional appearance; and virtues,” (p.543) such as honesty, listening, kindness, trustworthiness, & being reassuring & fun. 11-year-old Jason communicated some of it in GoodNurse_BadNurse2Figure 4 on page 552.   12-year-old Luke also showed a sharp contrast in Figure 7 on page 556 that is at the top of this blog.  Children valued a reciprocal relationship with their nurses, caring, and safe/professional behavior. Play was one of many things important to them.

Commentary: While the sample is not representative of a larger group and I would question the authors claim to use grounded theory, the study forms the basis for further research.  Additionally these ideas can help us listen more closely to our own pediatric patients.   It would be particularly interesting to compare these 5 themes to how adult patients of various ages describe a good nurse and a bad nurse.

Critical thinking:  How do you think these children’s perspectives compare with the perspectives of your own pediatric patient population?QUESTION

For more information: See Brady, M. (2009). Hospitalized children’s views of the good nurse, Nursing Ethics, 16(5). doi: 10.1177/0969733009106648

“Smile (or not). You’re on candid camera!” Patients’ covertly recording care

“What might happen if patients were to use digital devices such as smartphones to covertly record clinical encounters? Increasing reports of the practice of patient’s covertly recording clinical encounters suggest that these are no longer hypothetical questions.”(Tsulukidze et al, 2015).iphone camera2

Researchers in 2015 search Google & Google blog search engines to find written texts (excluding audio & video recordings) that were about patient covert recording of clinical encounters. They analyzed 62 texts from patients, clinicians, advocates, dentists, insurers, and lawyers. Four(4) themes emerged that represented the groups’ reactions.

  1. Such recording is a new behavior eliciting strong positive and negative reactions.  Comment –
    • e.g., “accept the prospect of covert recording as a product of the digital age and ensure that it does not work against you [clinicians]” (Contributor 3, editor, T40)
  2. Covert recording shows a lack of patient trust in providers or the system 
    • e.g.,…ALWAYS record EVERYTHING. These people [physicians] can lie, cheat and steal and act immorallyand do so regularly. (Contributor 13, T36)
  3. Through recording patients were asserting new control over and ownership of the clinical encounters.
    • e.g., When a patient seeks a consultation […], the information being processed is almost exclusively relating to the patient. Under the Data Protection Act, that data is therefore personal to the patient. By recording it, that patient is merely viewed as processing their own data. (Contributor 15, dental adviser, T42)
  4. Responses were confused & conflicting, with patients & providers seeking legal and ethical counsel about the recordings.
    • e.g., Would any of the practicing physicians here remove a patient from their care if you found out your patient was secretly recording you? (Contributor 22, physician, T30)   (Tsulukidze et al)

lightbuld among rocksCOMMENTARY: As with all qualitative studies, the value is on getting new, in-depth information on something that we know very little about, and their sample represented diverse perspectives.  A weakness is that the researchers used existing documents so that researchers couldn’t explore further and were limited to what these particular individuals chose to put out on a public site. Because RNs were not included, a parallel study of covert recording of RNs would be valuable.  RN-patient encounters are necessarily different from physician-patient encounters, and RNs have been rated by the public as the most trusted profession year after year in Gallup polls. I am unaware if anyone  knows the who, what, when, where, why, and how of covert recording of RNs.  Nonetheless, RNs should examine whether they would be comfortable with being recorded because we know that privacy standards, patient empowerment, and the proliferation of recording devices have changed.

CRITICAL THINKINGImagine that your most recent patient encounter had been recorded.  Clinically would you have done anything differently?  Ethically do you consider this right and good or wrong and bad?  Why?  Legally does your facility have and enforce policies/standards related to patients’ recording?   Whom in your facility would you go to for advice if you learned this was happening?  What are related patient privacy issues?  Should we fight against patients’ recording or assume that it will happen and find ways to make it work in provider/facility interests?  How would we do that?question

FOR MORE INFO: The FREE  full text is available at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4416897/   Tsulukidze, et al., (2015,  May 1).Patients Covertly Recording Clinical Encounters: Threat or Opportunity? A Qualitative Analysis of Online Texts. PLoS One. 2015; 10(5): e0125824.

Introduction to Introductions!

I have a lot of new readers, so let’s revisit the standard sections of a research article.  They are:

  • Introduction (or Background)
  • Review of literature
  • Methods
  • Results (or findings)
  • Discussion & Implications
  • Conclusion

If we begin at the beginning, then we should ask: “What’s in an Introduction?”  Here’s the answer:

“[a] …Background of the problem or issue being examined,

[b] …Existing literature on the subject, and

[c] …Research questions, objectives, and possibly hypothesis” (p. 6, Davies & Logan, 2012)

This is the very 1st section of the body of the research article.  In it you will find a description of the problem that the researcher is studying, why the problem is a priority, and sometimes what is already known about the problem.  The description of what is already known may or may not be labelled separately as a Review of Literature.

KEYKey point #1: Articles & research that are reviewed in the Intro/Background should be mostly within the past 5-7 years.  Sometimes included are classic works that may be much older OR sometimes no recent research exists.   If recent articles aren’t used, this should raise some questions in your mind.   You know well that healthcare changes all the time!!  If there are no recent studies the author should explain.

KEY
Key point #2The last sentence or two in the Intro/Background is the research question or hypothesis.  If you need to know the research question/hypothesis right away, you can skip straight to the end of the Intro/background—and there it should be!

Happy research reading!

Critical Thinking: Do the sections of the abstract AND the sections of the research article match above headings?  Does it match the description of Introduction? Take a look at the free article by Kennedy et al. (2014). Is there a relationship between personality and choice of nursing specialty: An integrative literature, BMC Nursing, 13(40). Retrieved from the link http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4267136/.  question

 

Does Data Drive you Dotty? Then watch this!

Does the very idea of looking at data make your eyes cross and set your teeth on edge?EyesCrossed

If so, I have the solution for you!!   And you DO need a solution because Data–>Information–>Best Practices.

You might be surprised that in less than 10 minutes John Hicks at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=–r9_R60Jws will have you able to describe the basic approach to data.   He gives you 4 key steps & builds from there.HappyFaces

I promise: No eyes glazing over. No getting lost in numbers and calculations. No problem. Don’t worry; be happy.

LearningI can feel it.  Your research reading skills have gone up a notch!  (And for those of you who are masters of data & analysis, enjoy this link for teaching others.)

For more Info: Watch his great follow-up, short, & sweet videos for more on statistics.

CRITICAL THINKING: First watch the video above—click here if you didn’t yet do that. Second outline the 4 steps using the abstract below. Third, answer these questions: Are the data quantitative or qualitative? Are the data are continuous or discrete? Are the data are primary or secondary?

Anjdersson, E.K., Willman, A., Sjostrom-Strand, A. & Borglin, G. (2015). Registered nurses’ descriptions of caring: A phenomenographic interview study. BMC Nursing. doi: 10.1186/s12912-015-0067-9

“Background: Nursing has come a long way since the days of Florence Nightingale and even though no consensus exists it would seem reasonable to assume that caring still remains the inner core, the essence of nursing. In the light of the societal, contextual and political changes that have taken place during the 21st century, it is important to explore whether these might have influenced the essence of nursing. The aim of this study was to describe registered nurses’ conceptions of caring. Methods: A qualitative design with a phenomenographic approach was used. The interviews with twenty-one nurses took place between March and May 2013 and the transcripts were analysed inspired by Marton and Booth’s description of phenomenography. Results: The analysis mirrored four qualitatively different ways of understanding caring from the nurses’ perspective: caring as person-centredness, caring as safeguarding the patient’s best interests, caring as nursing interventions and caring as contextually intertwined.  Conclusion: The most comprehensive feature of the nurses’ collective understanding of caring was their recognition and acknowledgment of the person behind the patient, i.e. person-centredness. However, caring was described as being part of an intricate interplay in the care context, which has impacted on all the described conceptions of caring. Greater emphasis on the care context, i.e. the environment in which caring takes place, are warranted as this could mitigate the possibility that essential care is left unaddressed, thus contributing to better quality of care and safer patient care.” [quoted from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25834478]

 

 

“It Takes 2 to Tango” (Or to Answer Research Questions)

It takes 2 people to dance the tango, and 2 types of data to answer research questions.

Researchers answer hypotheses and research questions by collecting and analyzing data.   The collected data often are numbers (AKA quantitative data) that are analyzed with statistical tests.  

In contrast, some researchers may collect word data to answer the research question. The word data are usually subjects’ descriptive answers to open-ended interview questions.   Researchers analyze the word data (AKA qualitative data) by looking for patterns in subjects’ descriptions.

A researcher may also choose to collect and analyze both numbers (quantitative) data AND word (qualitative) data to answer a research question more completely. This is similar to what an RN might do when the RN asks the patient to rate pain from 0 to 10 (number data) and also to describe the character, location, & severity of the pain (word data). You can see that having both types of data can give a more complete picture clinically. The same is true in research.  (Using both quantitative & qualitative data is called mixed methods.)

Many nurses associate research only with numbers data and statistical analysis. Here is an excerpt of how analysis of numbers/quantitative data may look. “The majority of patients were female (58.5%), the mean age was 59.5 years, 53.1% of the patients had cancer, and 55.5% had undergone surgery….The majority of patients (56.6%) reported pain in the abdominal region. The mean duration of pain in patients with chronic pain was 4.8 years (SD =10.8), and for patients with acute pain 5.9 days (SD =5.9).” (de Rond et al, 2000, p.429) Notice the statistical calculation of percents, means (averages), and standard deviations (SD).*

In contrast, sometimes word data and analysis is the only way to answer a research question!   Here is an example of how such qualitative data analysis was used to answer the question of what social processes were blocking the comforting of hospice patients: “Open coding initially generated five [barriers to appropriate opioid use to manage pain among hospice patients]…: within the patient, within the physician, within the family, within the nurse, and within the healthcare system….Two basic psychosocial processes became apparent as the foundation of these barriers: fear and avoidance behaviors.” (Zerwekh et al, 2002, p.85)  Notice that the researchers identified 5 barriers and 2 processes by analyzing nurses’ descriptions.

At other times researchers may collect and analyze BOTH numbers (quantitative) data and word (qualitative) data, as in this excerpt: “[In response to the question of] ‘Who asked me about my pain and how did they do this?’ Seven of the eight children interviewed indicated they had been asked about their pain. …Some children did provide evidence of areas where they felt improvements could be made. One child indicated she would like nurses: to check on me more often (Case 1). However, another child (Case 3) indicated that nurses asked her about her pain too often and that this was particularly annoying if it meant they woke her up.” (Twycross & Finley, 2013, p.3100)   Notice in this mixed methods case that 70% (7 of 10) said they had been asked about pain, and that several gave descriptions suggesting improvements.

 

CRITICAL THINKING: Read this excerpt and identify whether the researcher collected and analyzed quantitative or quantitative data or used mixed methods:“Approximately 82% of all patients received pain medications in the hospital, doctor’s office, outpatient clinic, or surgery center. The most commonly administered medications were morphine (33%) and meperidine (27%) for inpatients and acetaminophen with codeine (23%) and ibuprofen (15%) for outpatients.   Overall, one third of patients requested their first one to two doses of pain medication while in the surgical setting. Of these, 37% were inpatients and 25% were outpatients. After discharge, 76% of all patients received pain medications.” (Source: Apfelbaum, Chen, Mehta, & Gan, 2003, DOI: 10.1213/01.ANE.0000068822.10113.9E)

 

*Standard deviations (SD) are how the data spread out while means (averages) are how the data clump together.