Tragedy Into Policy: A Quantitative Study of Nurses

Title, Author and Abstract

As some of the elements that could influence the believability of the study, Coughlan, Cronin and Ryan (2007) stipulate that the title, the author and the abstract should be properly scrutinized in any critique of quantitative research. The author of the study under review has a doctorate of philosophy degree in the medical field hence has a wide degree of knowledge on the study. The abstract offers a clear overview of the study which includes background, methods, results and conclusions. However, the statistical procedure used to analyze the data is lacking in the abstract and this exposes the gaps in the paper. The title of the article “Tragedy into policy: A quantitative study of nurses’ attitudes toward patient advocacy activities” (Black, 2011) is clear, accurate and unambiguous hence appropriate.

Background and purpose of the study

The author gives a clear background of the study which dates back to January 2008. The background is further elaborated through a different heading, that is, “What prompted this study?” The purpose of the study is also given under this heading which is to investigate Nevada Registered Nurses’ “experiences with workplace attitudes toward patient advocacy activities, to provide data with which to shape policy” (Black, 2011). Although it gives the reader a clear view of what is under investigation (Polit & Beck, 2008), the purpose and the background of the study could have been combined under one heading (Coughlan et al., 2007). Thus, the elaboration of the background in a different heading on the same document only brings about repetition.

PICO: Patient-Intervention-Comparison-Outcome

  • Patient/Population– The population under study is Nevada Registered Nurses (RNs). The major issue with this group is their experiences within their workplace on attitudes toward patient care and advocacy activities.
  • Intervention– As an intervention strategy, this study was aimed at collecting “data from RNs licensed to practice in Nevada regarding work setting, reporting unsafe patient care practices or conditions, experiences with prior reporting activities, and attitudes toward reporting concerns about patient safety” (Black, 2011).
  • Comparison– To completely change the patient care practices that compromises the safety of the patients, the study was aimed at establishing a legal framework that protects the whistleblowers in the health institutions.
  • Outcome– The main result of the study was the establishment of a legal framework to protect the nurses who blow the whistle on unsafe patient care conditions hence safeguarding them against any form of harm.

Analysis and Results

Under the methodology section, apart from the power analysis to verify the strength of the sample size, the author does not expressly show the data analysis procedures that were carried out on the research data. As a general rule, the researcher is supposed to identify the statistical procedures that were used, reasons for their use and the results obtained (Coughlan et al., 2007).

Discussion and Implications

In this section, the author provides a logical relationship between the background of the study, the problem under investigation, the purpose of the study, the literature reviewed and the results obtained. The author’s interpretations and general inferences are very consistent with the results (Coughlan et al., 2007), making the author very successful in linking these relationships.

Conceptual Framework

The author did not use any model or theory to develop his conceptual framework. This should have been included in this study and a detailed definition of terms provided.


Black, L. M. (2011). Tragedy into policy: A quantitative study of nurses’ attitudes toward patient advocacy activities. American Journal of Nursing, 111(6), 26-35.

Coughlan, M., Cronin, P. & Ryan, F. (2007). Step by step guide to critiquing research. Part 1: Quantitative research. British Journal of Nursing, 16 (11), 658-664.

Polit, D. F. & Beck, C. T. (2008). Nursing research: Generating and assessing nursing practice. (8th ed.). Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott, Williams, and Wilkins.