A literature review is necessary for almost any type of academic work. However, it is especially important for students who study health care or medicine in general, because these students need to analyze articles and books on a given topic successfully. The main aim of a literature review is to present new, preferably peer-reviewed references, but those references should focus on the purpose of the study or the research (Parahoo, 2014). Health studies and researches are usually published in the form of “research papers, descriptions and discussion of practice, theoretical papers, opinions and articles” (Parahoo, 2014, p. 111). Thus, the literature review is directly connected to the thesis/hypothesis of the research and should focus on the papers relevant to the study. In this paper, three different sources will be examined. To write a research, one needs to understand the methods needed for this task. The next three paragraphs will approach the health research methods.
Overview of Health Research Methods
To conduct a study successfully, students need to understand what methods and tools they will be using during the research. In the book Introduction to Health Research Methods, Kathryn H. Jacobsen provides various recommendations on the medical researches and pinpoints the specifics of the research process and writing. For example, the section on identification of the study question is divided into several paragraphs where the author guides the students how to select a topic, review the literature, focus on the research question, and establish a support team (Jacobsen, 2011). Any of these means are necessary to follow when students are writing their research paper.
Although the author introduces most of the concepts and methods briefly and in a simple language, the information presented in the book is still a good guidance for undergraduate students. The author proceeds, writing an overview of each study approach listed in the index; overall, the book covers ecological studies, case series, cross-sectional surveys, experimental studies, and others. The section dedicated to the data collection is a detailed overview of the methods that are usually used during research, i.e. questionnaires, clinical records, laboratory analyses, tests, etc. (Jacobsen, 2011). Attention is also drawn to the ethical aspects of research; the author stresses the importance of confidentiality and anonymity if it is required by the research or/and patients.
Data analysis, as well as completing the reports on this data, is the central part of the research. The data may be used by the researcher for various purposes: to support or deny a hypothesis, to confirm or refute the data of the previous researches, or to introduce new data to scientists. Health statistics are not covered wholly or profoundly, but the author provides references to other authors who presented health statistics more detailed (Jacobsen, 2011). In the last sections, students can study the chapters that are particularly useful for the research: the author’s notes on writing strategies and motivation (Jacobsen, 2011, p. 241). Some students, especially those who have just enrolled at a university, may find that they do not need to publish any researches they had conducted; however, the author provides a separate chapter on the importance of being published and answers the question why students should introduce their researches to the wider public. Researches can cover topics that were not addressed often enough; such topic will be examined in the next paragraphs.
Overview of Hospital-Acquired Infections
In the article Hospital-Acquired Infections, the authors Kevin W. Lobdell, Sotiris Stamou, and Juan A. Sanchez present a close examination of the hospital-acquired conditions or complications that patients gain during their staying in a hospital. Such studies are necessary to understand how hospital infections spread or emerge; that is why I believe that this article is significant to my research topic. According to the authors, HAIs are the cause of tremendous losses that hospitals and patients experience every year (Lobdell, Stamou, & Sanchez, 2012). When treating a patient, medical staff should be aware of the HAIs that can develop, e.g. “catheter-related bloodstream infections, ventilator-associated pneumonia, surgical site infections, and catheter-associated urinary tract infections” (Lobdell et al., 2012). To prevent the HAIs, the health care needs to be introduced to new policies that will guarantee safe and patient-centered care.
In addition, transparency and reporting of any possible complications can also help hospitals prevent or successfully overcome such conditions. Although it is not always possible to avoid HAIs, it is useful to know that the number of hospital-acquired infections can decrease if the nurses and physicians follow the rules of the evidence-based care, i.e. refer to the previous experience compiled in data.
Understanding of the nature of HAIs and means of their prevention is crucial to my research because I aim to examine how such conditions emerge and connect to the errors made during the treatment. Moreover, combined with the previously reviewed health research methods, the information about HAIs will help me write a detailed, useful, and relevant research that will, hopefully, help avoid or treat these conditions, as well as raise awareness of HAIs among medical staff and patients. An effective research on this topic will provide new ideas about HAIs and their causes.
Overview of Medication Errors
If hospital-acquired conditions are not always possible to prevent and the reasons why they develop are sometimes unclear, medication errors are often preventable. However, they are addressed and reported on rare occasions, although their contribution to mortality is substantial (Pham et al., 2011). It is important to understand that not only medical staff is responsible for medication errors, but also external factors, e.g. lack of medical history of patients, patients’ inability to communicate properly (due to illness, lack of language skills, etc.).
However, hospital staff does not guarantee they will not commit any mistakes because they are put under pressure, or they might not follow the prescriptions correctly (Pham et al., 2011). The types of mistakes made, as well as the interpretation of the data provided in the article, are the basis for my future research. This information specifies the phases during which mistakes occur, describes which errors are identified quickly and which ones are left out, and explains what other factors (days of the week, features of the working process) influence the number of errors committed.
Generally, I believe that this concept is not only helpful for my personal research but also for all nurses, physicians, and patients because it can affect the treatment and its outcomes. It is important to point out repeatedly that the circumstances in which medical staff works often hinder the treatment and can lead to serious disorder during it. I am going to use the concept presented in this article both in my research and in clinical practice. If more researches were dedicated to this issue, medication errors could be detected and eliminated much more quickly, as it seems.
Jacobsen, K. H. (2011). Introduction to health research methods. Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Publishers.
Lobdell, K. W., Stamou, S., & Sanchez, J. A. (2012). Hospital-acquired infections. Surgical Clinics of North America, 92(1), 65-77.
Parahoo, K. (2014). Nursing research: principles, process and issues. London, England: Palgrave Macmillan.
Pham, J. C., Story, J. L., Hicks, R. W., Shore, A. D., Morlock, L. L., Cheung, D. S., & Pronovost, P. J. (2011). National study on the frequency, types, causes, and consequences of voluntarily reported emergency department medication errors. The Journal of emergency medicine, 40(5), 485-492.