Occupational stress

The critiquing will be carried out by demonstrating my understanding and interpretation of the research methods and processes presented in the article as well as subjecting them to scrutiny and giving a rationale to support aspects of interest. The framework used for critiquing is framework by Leliopoulou (2006). In virtue of academic and professional accomplishments, I believe that the researcher is sufficiently competent to carry out the research and produce credible findings.

The researcher comes from nursing background and empathizes with newly qualified nurses. Elizabeth Charnley holds MSc degree, and is a registered nurse. She is freelance lecturer, which I believe is enough for researcher to produce credible research finding and attract readers. Smith and Hunt (1997) believe that good academic qualifications may encourage the reader to trust the researcher’s judgment and enhance the credibility of the research. There is no evidence of previous record of research conducted by the researcher, which made me believe researcher is novice. The article was published in nursing standard which is reputable and accessible to nurses.

According to Cormack (2000) research projects become known by their title, so it is important to make the title explicit and relatively brief while describing the proposed study. Based on this definition, the title was clear as it reflected the content of the article. However it does not state about project 2000 graduate nurses, which is the core sample of the study and researcher’s conclusion is based on this sample.

Parahoo (1997) states the abstract should state briefly the aim of study, the design, including methods, samples and sampling, and the main findings. According to this abstract clearly state the aim, sample and main findings but unable to reflect the methods used. The researcher could have created more interest by mentioning methods and brief conclusion. In my opinion the abstract was indicative of what the study was about. The hypothesis was clearly stated from the onset because from the onset it was clearly stated that transition from student to staff nurse is challenging and stressful, yet the area needs research and a summary of the results were shown.

In the introduction, the researcher gave a concise background of the area of study. The purpose of introduction is to set the stage for a description of what the researcher did and what the researcher discovered (Polit and Hungler, 1999). The researcher was able to describe the consequences of occupational stress in newly qualified nurses on their practice. The Researcher explains nursing as a stressful profession particularly the transition of student to staff nurse as challenging and stressful time. The researcher also gave a description of project 2000 and briefly explained how it affected the context within which the newly qualified nurses work and function in the system. The introduction clearly stated the aim and conclusion of the study.

The aim of literature review is to prepare the ground for new research. The literature review involves the scanning and critical reading of the selected literature to find out how it can be useful to current research (Parahoo, 1997). The researcher is able to explain about previous researches done on the topic. The researcher managed well to reference the related studies, most of which were from empirical and theoretical sources.

Although most of the studies were related with stress in qualified and student nurses, they were conducted prior to the introduction of project 2000 programme which, researcher explains has affected the healthcare environment. The rationale was included for the study of the variables, which centered on the exploration of perceived stress experienced in the current climate by newly qualified nurses who have undertaken a project 2000 course. The researcher used up to date material and was directly able to relate the previous literature with current research question under investigation.

The author highlighted the dominance of Qualitative methods in this study. The researcher used grounded theory methodology to explore newly qualified Project 2000 graduates. Polit (1999) states the goal is to use the data, grounded in reality, to provide a description or an explanation of events as they occur in reality – not as they have been conceptualized in pre-existing theories. Qualitative method was employed because there was use of semi-structured methods and descriptions of phenomena found in the intervention process of the study, where the nurses described the feelings they were going through.

Qualitative research is defined as the investigation of phenomena, typically an in depth and holistic fashion, through the collection of rich narrative materials using a flexible research design and this is prevalent in the study Polit (2001). However the quantitative method was employed as well in a minimal level because researcher categorized the concepts contributing stress and finally from 16 subcategories 4 categories were mentioned. The Researcher also used a focused group of 10 participants. According to Roe and Webb (1998) the quantitative research is characterized by the measurement of qualities or variables present in populations by assigning numerical data to them in accord with some rules.

Data was collected using semi-structured interview which allowed respondents to express their experiences and researcher to understand attitudes of respondents. The researcher can elaborate the findings and empathize with respondents to encourage and get appropriate responses required. According to Barriball and While (1994), the semi-structured interview provides the opportunity to change the words but not the meaning of the question because it acknowledges that not every word has the same meaning to every respondent and not every respondent uses the same vocabulary. Validity is enhanced because respondents can be helped to understand the question and interviewers can ask for clarifications and probe for further responses, if necessary.

Polit (2001) , defines a sample as a subset of a population selected to participate in a study. Theoretical sampling was used in this study. Polit and Hungler (1999) , states ”in qualitative studies, the selection of sample members based on emerging findings as the study progresses, to ensure adequate representation of important themes. The sample used was newly qualified nurses graduated from project 2000 diploma course in past six months, from just two district hospitals which reflects that sample size was limited. In my opinion, occupational stress might be evitable in chosen work area according to work load, environment etc, whereas nurses from other areas might not feel so. Researcher generalized the findings of the study.

Cormack (2000) reveals that in any study involving human subjects there are ethical issues that must be considered. The issue of informed consent is apparent; however it was not explicitly stated. Researcher did not explain about the temporary discomforts subjects were subjected to, however researcher should be credited for maintaining privacy and confidentiality. The tool for data collection used was semi-structured interview schedule. The interviews were tape-recorded which allowed researcher to produce credible findings on the basis of Para lingual and highlighted key concepts. The validity of the tool is seen in its strength to produce accurate results. Cormack (2000) views validity as the extent to which an instrument does what it purports to do.

The research design was reliable. The researcher well managed to explain the advantage of process used for data analysis, which created an interest in reader to look for findings. The researcher should also be credited for drawing reader’s attention to the findings by categorizing the factors producing occupational stress in newly qualified nurses from project 2000 diploma course. However, in my opinion, sample size was not sufficient and the findings were generalized on the basis of data collected from justified sample size.

The research achieved what it set out to achieve because there was an evidence that proved nurses felt stress and anxiety, however, there are a few limitations identified in this study. The sample comprised of nurses from general medical or surgical wards from two district hospitals was not an evidence to determine whether every newly qualified project 2000 nurse experienced the same anxiety or stress. The sample size was too small and in my opinion it was not a definite representation of nurses experiencing occupational stress. I believe that a larger sample would have yielded different results.

The researcher concluded that first six months of practising as a staff nurse after completing project 2000 is extremely stressful time attributed by several factors , whereas previous researches show that stress was evident in newly qualified nurses even prior to introduction of project 2000 course. The researcher recommended the need of joint efforts by educators and NHS employers to ease the transition of student to staff nurses and assistance by ward staff to new nurses in adjusting to new environment. However I believe, the factors which precipitate stress need specific attention and measures are required to ease nursing practice and reduction of anxiety in nurses which eventually leads to improved quality of care.

The reduction of anxiety in nursing professionals is of importance because nurses are accountable for their practice according to the NMC (2004). The area needs further exploration and attention as studies suggest that nursing stress may be associated with a higher rate of errors (Johnson and Pollard, 1991). The research is important and relevant to nursing, as in today’s world we are emphasizing on evidence based practise and research produces evidences.

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