The research question to be addressed is: Is there a relationship between long shift hours and backache in nurses? This question is exploratory, focusing on the relationship between subjective factors (the physical experiences of nurses) and the work environment, characterized by long work hours. The most suitable methodology for this kind of research is qualitative research, an approach that has been shown to be effective in studies in which subjective information, including participant attitudes, perceptions, feelings, emotions, and opinions regarding a particular subject, is required (Galanis, 2017). Moreover, the data collection method must also be aligned to this objective to ensure that the intended outcomes are obtained. The subjective information collected will be on the physical experiences of nurses following long durations of work and will be used to determine whether there is a relationship between long shift hours and backache in nurses.
The participants in this study will be nurses working in various healthcare facilities across the state, where there is a high patient inflow. in such facilities, the probability of working long shifts is high, particularly with the staffing challenges that have been recently reported in the healthcare sector (Clarke & Donaldson, 2008). At least 350 nurses will be contacted as potential participants for the study. The purposive sampling technique will be used, as it has been confirmed effective in research where data is to be collected from a population with a particular characteristic that is considered of interest to the researcher (Elfil & Negida, 2017). Specifically, homogenous purposive sampling will be used. I this approach, all the participants have a common characteristic, which is the basis of recruitment (Panacek & Thompson, 2007). in this case, the characteristic of interest is the occupation of the potential participants, namely nurses. visits will be made to the healthcare facilities are around the city to reach the potential participants. The nurses in those facilities will then be requested to participate in the research out of will. the interview sessions and the survey questionnaire will be designed to be as short as possible as long interviews and surveys can discourage participation to ensure retention.
The data collection method for this study will be surveys and interviews. The former is reported to be effective in data collection for descriptive data. The method results in a significant depth of data due to the possibility of expanding the questions (Nayak & Narayan, 2019). The survey questionnaire will be designed to contain both open-ended and close-ended questions to be able to find sufficient detail for generalization to the nurse population. The mentioned number of participants selected is deemed sufficient to provide information for generalization to the entire populations
The survey technique has various advantages and disadvantages. The advantages include: the survey questionnaires can be filled at times of convenience to the participants; the reach is limitless; and the participants can take time to structure their responses to effectively address the questions raised (Jones, Baxter & Khanduja, 2013). The disadvantages of the survey technique include potentially low response rates (especially in contexts such as the proposed whereby the questionnaires are to be administered online) and the probable passivity without any human interventions (Nayak & Narayan, 2019). These issues are addressed in the proposed research by making initial face-to-face contact with the potential participants before administration of the surveys to gauge their level of commitment. It is believed that any information that fails to be captured by the interviews will be captured through the surveys.
Interviews are characterized by various advantages, such as the ability to support accurate screening of participants and facilitation of the collection of both verbal and non-verbal information in relation to the participants. it also captures the emotions and behaviors of participants, especially when there is face-to-face contact with the participants (Opdenakker, 2006). However, the approach has faults such as the high costs of interviewing (since there is need for contact either through phones or through face-to-face communications), dependence of the quality of data on the interviewer capabilities, and the need for manual data entry (Opdenakker, 2006). Interviews also limit the sample size due to time and costs. Accordingly, the planned data collection process will help to address the time and cost concerns by conducting very short interviews at the first contact with the participants. The interviews will comprise of only three questions: do you sometimes work long hours? What are the impacts of long work hours on your physical health? Do you ever feel backaches following long work hours?
. Some of the key considerations in data collection using the outlined methods include avoiding biases in the question designs, avoidance of leading questions, and providing an opportunity for participants to give accurate information by ensuring that the environment is friendly (Hammarberg, Kirkman & Lacey, 2016). These considerations eliminate the probability of the research findings being affected by researcher factors such as biasness.
During the initial contact with the potential participants, they will be informed of the research objectives and their potential roles towards attaining that objective. They will then be requested to give their consent if they will be willing to participate, and be informed that no one would be coerced in participation. Moreover, they will be told the timelines for the study and that the survey questionnaire will be sent via e-mail, and will be requested to give their e-mail addresses for direct contact during the questionnaire distribution. The interviews will then be conducted at the same place, and the highlighted questions will be asked during the exercise. The interview sessions will be recorded for later analysis. It is expected that the interviews will run for up to 10 days at an average of 35 people per day accounting for the travel time between facilities. The survey questionnaires will be distributed concurrently with the interviews. Additionally, the questionnaires will only be sent to participants who have completed the interview phase of the research. A span of one week will be given to participants to complete the surveys and send them back. It is therefore expected that the survey phase will be completed at most 8 days from the end of the interviews.
A descriptive data analysis will be conducted on the collected data. For the interviews, thematic abstraction will be used. The information collected from participants will be classified into two distinct themes: the prevalence of backache following long hours of work and the general physical effects of working for long hours. The backache theme directly addresses the research question.
Thematic abstraction will also be used for the extraction of the data from survey questionnaires. The data will then be summarized and used for deductive reasoning in drawing conclusions for the study. Thematic abstraction has been recommended by several authors such as Vaismoradi and Snelgrove (2019) who describe themes as the subjective meanings that can be drawn from data, and thematic abstraction/analysis as the process in which themes are used to create meaning in a cultural-contextual system. Nowell, Norris, White and Moules (2017) also argue that thematic analysis enables researchers to exhibit consistency, precision, and data exhaustion through focus on the research objective, which contributes to enhanced research credibility. The choice of themes will thus be guided by the objective.
Research reliability and validity are key considerations in executing qualitative research. During the research process, there will be deliberate emphasis on maintaining reliability. According to Brigitte (2017), rigor is a construct of both reliability and validity, and mostly relates to the trustworthiness of the information presented in the research. While there are no specific standards for measuring research reliability and validity, particularly due to variety of approaches in qualitative research (Noble & Smith, 2015), various considerations have been proposed for achieving both reliability and validity, including precision, methodological data collection and analysis, systemizing and disclosure of data analysis methods, and consistency (Nowell et al., 2017). One of the strategies for ensuring trustworthiness is clarity in the methodological and data analysis process descriptions, as has been presented in this proposal. This clarity in methods and analysis procedures ensures reproducibility, hence fostering reliability. The scope of data analysis will also be sufficiently comprehensive to address all elements of the research objective.
the research will ensure that the processes, tools, and data are appropriate for the objectives that are intended to be achieved to achieve validity. Appropriateness of the research question for the intended findings, the relevance of the methodology for the research question, and the appropriateness of the design for the selected methodology will be considered in line with the recommendations of Polit and Beck (2012). Additionally, the right sampling and data analysis approaches have been selected for the research to ensure that the conclusions drawn are relevant to the context and the sample selected. All these factors are key considerations towards ensuring validity. By aiming towards validity and reliability, a rigorous research will be presented with generalizable findings for the nursing environment.
Ethical considerations are an inevitable practice in research, especially when working with human participants, such as in the proposed research. Various ethical considerations for qualitative research are described by Yip, Han and Sng (2016), including informed consent, beneficence, anonymity, and confidentiality. In the proposed research, informed consent will be addressed by ensuring that the participants are aware of the objectives of the research and how their participation would contribute to achieving those objectives. They will also be notified of the freedom to choose whether to participate or not, and that they would not be coerced into participation, as recommended by Manti and Licari (2018). Additionally, they will be made to understand that they could end their participation at any stage of the process without any ramifications. They will also be required to sign an informed consent form as the first part of the survey questionnaire to confirm that their participation is a result of free will.
The second concern will be beneficence. The principle of beneficence in research refers to the commitment to doing no harm and instead be of benefit to the research participants (Fouka & Mantzorou, 2011). In the proposed research, the participants will be approached when convenient to avoid interfering with their work schedules or subjecting them to supervisory scrutiny in the work place. The aspect of doing no harm is also described as non-maleficence and will be aimed at ensuring the research findings are not harmful to the participants, with a consideration of harm as potentially emotional, physical, or social as described by Fouka and Mantzorou (2011). This implies that discomfort during the research process will also need to be addressed. The data collection process will be structured such that it has minimum interference with the daily lives of participants and their physical health.
Consideration of confidentiality as part of the research ethics will be made in this study. The aspect is aimed at protecting the participants from any form of victimization on account of their contribution to the study. It also entails upholding the privacy of the participants in esteem by protecting personal information such as names and e-mail addresses from being accessed by unwarranted personnel (Yip, Han & Sng, 2016). The address information from the participants will be saved by the researcher and will not be shared with any other parties. Codes will also be used to cover for the participant names in conducting the research anonymously.
The proposed research methodology will aid towards accomplishment of the stated research objectives, however, there are various limitations that could constrain the generalizability of the findings. The first category comprises of methodological limitations, particularly regarding the conduct of the interviews. More detailed interviews could give the researcher an opportunity to collect more detailed information from the participants. Secondly, large participant numbers may also be a limitation to the effectiveness of the data collection process, and can result in challenges in data analysis.
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