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Critical Evaluation of a Quantitative Research Report

Discuss about the Critical Consumers of Evidence Based Nursing Research.

Critical evaluation of a research report is the evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses of the content and ideas of the report. It provides a detailed interpretation, analysis and description for allowing the readers to assess the value of the research report. The most important factor for the critical evaluation of a research report is the determination of the appropriateness of the research question and study design with a detailed assessment of the key methodological features that are applied in the study design (Pickard, 2012). The other factors that should be considered include the statistical methods employed in the study with the possible conflicts of interest, subsequent interpretation and the research relevance with respect to practice. This assignment will critically evaluate a quantitative research report by Middleton et al. (2014) and will discuss that with the time, how the profile of the Australian nurse practitioners has changed and will analyze the arguments put forward by the article.

Several tools are implemented for the critical appraisal of research reports like CASP, PEDro Scale, CONSORT Statement and JADAD Score (Hall & Roussel, 2016). Out of these, the CASP tool is the most efficient tool for evaluation of the quantitative studies involving survey designs (Polit & Beck, 2013). Therefore, CASP tool was used for the critical evaluation of the article ‘How has the profile of Australian nurse practitioners changed over time?’ In this article, the authors aimed to examine the longitudinal changes that have taken place in the Australian nurse practitioners profile that has been surveyed in the years 2007 and 2009.  This has been a commendable attempt that the authors have undertaken to determine the changes that has taken place in the profession of nursing and the nurse practitioners in Australia in the designated period. The authors also determined the differences between the nurse practitioners and classified them as new respondents who completed the census in 2009 and the resurveyed respondents. The opening statement in this report provided a clear statement of the aims of the research that the authors have undertaken. Since there has been little research work that has been conducted on a similar topic for investigating the changes in the Australian workforce of nurse practitioners. The nurse practitioners are expected to play a variety of roles to provide outreach services and for that, they require the appropriate conditions for enabling them to work. The changing perceptions of barriers and enablers to the nursing practice have been well documented in the article to reflect the effect of the changes in the Australian context based on the sustainability of the role of the nurse practitioners. The authors have identified the fact that the role of the nurse practitioners is integral for the sustainability and development of the advanced practice roles in the system of healthcare. For supporting this statement, the authors have put forward the argument that the success of the system is dependent on the support from the nursing, health services and policy makers. Sufficient data was provided by the authors to make this fact reliable from the census of the nurse practitioners of Australia that was conducted in 2007 for collecting national data on the scope and role of their practice and responsibilities. Since the process involved analysis of the collected data, quantitative methodology was the most appropriate as the study design. Survey design method was the most appropriate for addressing the aim of the research. Data collection was done by carrying out a sum total of 408 surveys employing 293 questionnaires to the nurse practitioners who have participated in the national census of 2007 and 2009. There was a broad inclusion of samples that elaborately explained the intensity of the research work. The recruitment strategy employed for the study was by placing advertisements on the website of the Association of the Nurse Practitioners of Australia. Apart from this, snowballing technique or word of mouth was the sampling technique used and for survey processes, this was an appropriate technique for addressing the aims of the research. For data collection, the questions were divided into five sections which were intended at inquiring at the various parameters of the nurse practitioners. Each question had several other pointers and scales for examining the enablers and limitations to the current practice. With the inclusion of multiple facets to the survey questions, sufficient information was gathered to address the research issue. The relationship of the researchers with the new and resurveyed respondents was not adequately established as the survey process involved exchange of information between the researchers and the participants through letters. Had it been a face to face interview, the relationship would have been much adequately considered and developed (Berg, 2013). Ethical issues have been taken into consideration as the authors received ethical grants from various universities in Australia to conduct the research work. Data analysis was carried out using the SPSS version 17.0 and calculation of the frequencies was done for the key variables. Several statistical tests were carried out for analyzing the responses of the new and resurveyed respondents for determining the enablers and limitations. This was rigorous enough to demonstrate the responses of the survey questionnaires and their various sections in the form of statistical representations for answering the research question. The variables were derived and analyzed for identifying their validity which was accurate enough for representing the differences in the profiles of the nurse practitioners of Australia over the time. The statement of findings was clear enough and stated that the conditions that enable full scope of nursing is perceived as suboptimal by the nurse practitioners of Australia who were both newly authorized and experienced. The researchers opined that adequate resources and good policies support the nurse practitioners in Australia and they should be periodically evaluated for ensuring their effective usage in the healthcare system of Australia. The researchers have identified gaps in the healthcare system and proposed that supportive strategies are required for effective utilization of the roles of the nurse practitioners.

Factors for Critical Evaluation of a Research Report

The research findings was of utmost value as the researchers argued for the fact that there is a dearth of optimum resources and policies that requires attention by the policy makers to improve the role of the nurse practitioners in Australia. A similar study was carried out by Halcomb et al. (2014) based on the national surveys in the years 2003-2004 and 2009-2010 for comparative analysis of the obtained datasets that explored the changes in Australian nursing workforce over the time. The study has identified the structural barriers that are present in the general practice of nursing in Australia that is generated over the time and their impact on the development of the role of the nurses. The researchers have expressed their views by stating that addressing and understanding these issues is crucial for optimization of the effectiveness of the nursing workforce in primary care. To carry on the argument, Lowe et al. (2012) carried out a study that identified another critical gap in the role of the nurse practitioners and stated that uncertainty exists in the clarity of their role. Presence of clarity in the role of the nurse practitioners is essential as its absence does not recognize the valuable contribution of the nursing roles due to the lack of clear expression of their function. This is also important from the perspectives of improving the scope of practice and international nursing standards in Australia. These articles are in accordance with the findings of the study carried out by Middleton et al. (2014) and establish the fact that the profile of the nurse practitioners of Australia has not changed significantly over the time and recommends the need for effective strategies for improving the prevailing condition. The articles have also put forward various proposals for the policy makers to improve the clarity of the role of the nurse practitioners in Australia. In contrary to this, Joyce & Piterman (2011) carried out a counter argument by stating that the nurse practitioners of Australian workforce are growing significantly in terms of nature of the role and workforce size. The Australian government has implemented policy initiatives in this context to provide importance to the primary system of health care in the country. However, this article has exhibited the fact that there is little available evidence regarding the services provided by the nurse practitioners and therefore, there role needs to be well defined and a follow up monitoring for its evaluation is crucial.

From these literatures, it is quite evident that the research report by Middleton et al. (2014) is a creditable research work that has been adequately supported by other similar research reports. It is evident that the healthcare system in Australia is expanding and the role of the nurse practitioners in critical in addressing the healthcare crisis (Stephenson, 2013). Consecutively, the nursing roles are advancing and awareness has to be developed for improving the profile of the nurse practitioners and overcome the perceived barriers by them with the provision of adequate resources (Ralph, Birks & Chapman, 2015). Effective governance policies are required to develop to address their changing perceptions and characteristics over the time

References

Berg, L. M., Källberg, A. S., Göransson, K. E., Östergren, J., Florin, J., & Ehrenberg, A. (2013). Interruptions in emergency department work: an observational and interview study. BMJ quality & safety, 22(8), 656-663.

Halcomb, E. J., Salamonson, Y., Davidson, P. M., Kaur, R., & Young, S. A. (2014). The evolution of nursing in Australian general practice: a comparative analysis of workforce surveys ten years on. BMC family practice, 15(1), 1.

Hall, H. R., & Roussel, L. A. (2016). Critical Appraisal of Research-Based Evidence. Evidence-Based Practice, 125.

Joyce, C. M., & Piterman, L. (2011). The work of nurses in Australian general practice: a national survey. International Journal of Nursing Studies,48(1), 70-80.

Lowe, G., Plummer, V., O’Brien, A. P., & Boyd, L. (2012). Time to clarify–the value of advanced practice nursing roles in health care. Journal of advanced nursing, 68(3), 677-685.

Middleton, S., Gardner, A., Della, P. R., Lam, L., Allnutt, N., & Gardner, G. (2014). How has the profile of Australian nurse practitioners changed over time?. Collegian.

Pickard, A. (2012). Research methods in information. Facet publishing.

Polit, D. F., & Beck, C. T. (2013). Essentials of nursing research: Appraising evidence for nursing practice. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Ralph, N., Birks, M., & Chapman, Y. (2015). The accreditation of nursing education in Australia. Collegian, 22(1), 3-7.

Stephenson, D. (2013). Palliative care nursing in Australia in a time of national health and hospital reform. Progress in Palliative Care.

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