Based on its objective, the study had two research questions which could be framed as, "What is the validity of nurses relying on intuition to tell how severe patients' injuries are?" and, "Does intuition influence nurses' decisions to start a trauma code?" First, the two research questions are difficult to answer precisely because there is no clear boundary between intuition and conscious reasoning in practice (Chilcote, 2016). The researchers were interested in the level of training, expertise and experience as factors central to intuition in nursing. As such, they suggest that intuition just like analysis requires some level of conscious awareness.
The study was conducted in two phases, which used different samples. The sample in the first phase was six charge nurses in an Emergency Department while the sample in second phase was 360 files with trauma patient records taken over a two year period. Evidently, a sample of six nurses is too small to give valid conclusions that can be generalized for the entire profession. Besides, the fact that the same sample was conveniently selected further weakens the validity of the study (Neuman, 2014). Unlike the first phase, the second phase of this study had fairly large sample. However, it should have been distributed over a longer period of time than two years to get a more accurate representation of the phenomenon.
The study was quantitative by design and it used cohort analysis as well as cross-sectional record review. The use of a quantitative design only limited this study because each of its two phases required descriptive findings that would have come out better if the researchers had combined the quantitative techniques with qualitative approaches. Moreover, data was collected by administering questionnaires to the selected nurses in the first phase, and medical files were reviewed for data recorded over a desired period in the second phase. 109 files were categorized as "gut instinct" while the rest were categorized as "other". With an alpha of .05, the study used a 2-tailed test to perform a student's t-Test. Since the selection of the samples was not completely randomized, the use of t-Tests in this study was not very appropriate. Studies that involve tests have greater validity if they are entirely randomized.
Phase 1 of the study found that on average, the nurses had more than 10 years' experience in emergency departments and were all certified to practice. It also showed that their highest level of training was a bachelor's degree. Moreover, their self-assessment placed expertise level of nurses with longer experience in emergency department at "often," and those with shorter ED experience at "sometimes". The results of phase two gave a t-score of 0.02, disapproving the researchers' null hypothesis. Also, Pearson's r correlation coefficient showed that sets of data correlated strongly and positively.
The study concluded that intuition influences the choice of care that a nurse gives a patient. However, the conclusion is rather vague because it is barely implicated from correlations. The research does not include details on how intuition influences the choice of care and its effects on patient outcome. Also, the study did not have clear control over intervening variables like experience, training and background knowledge, which are central to the correlation (Neuman, 2014). For instance, some participants who had shorter experience could have higher or equal levels of training as their more experienced colleagues.
Chilcote, D. R. (2016). Intuition: A Concept Analysis. Nursing Forum, 52(1), 62-67. doi:10.1111/nuf.12162
Neuman, W. L. (2014). Social Research Methods: Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches: Pearson New International Edition. Harlow: Pearson Education Limited.
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