Stewart Piper

The conceptual framework and the iterative elements of doctoral nursing research design

The research design element should reflect the iterative reality of the process

Conceptual frameworks and terminology in doctoral nursing research

Aim To define conceptual frameworks and their inherent dichotomies, and integrate them with concomitant concepts to help early nursing doctoral researchers to develop their understanding of and engage with discourse further, so that nursing can demonstrate its ability to contribute to the meta-theoretical debate of doctoral research alongside other practices and theory-based disciplines.

Background Conceptual frameworks are central to nursing doctoral studies as they map and contextualise the philosophical assumptions of the research in relation to paradigms and ontological, epistemological and methodological foundations. They shape all aspects of the research design and provide a structure for theorising. They can also be a challenge for researchers and are under-discussed in the literature.

Review methods Literature review.

Discussion The key aspects of the conceptual framework debate in terms of objectivist, subjectivist paradigms and the wider paradigm debate, including retroduction and abduction, are reviewed here together with consideration of how these apply to nursing doctoral research.

Conclusion Conceptual frameworks are pivotal to nursing doctoral research as they clarify and integrate philosophical, methodological and pragmatic aspects of doctoral thesis while helping the profession to be seen as a research-based discipline, comfortable with the language of meta-theoretical debate.

Implications for research/practice Conceptual frameworks should form the methodological foundation for all nursing doctoral research.

How to empower patients, and involve the public

Patient empowerment and patient and public involvement are a focus for NHS policy, with an emphasis on patient decision making and representation as core features of a patient-focused NHS. Patient empowerment and patient and public involvement imply a rebalancing of power in the nurse-patient relationship. In reality this is complicated by wider issues of power and control in a complex health service influenced by professional agendas, healthcare leadership, government targets and a developing business culture. Despite these ideological and organisational constraints, there are many ways in which nurses can support aspects of individual patient empowerment and patient and public involvement.

Effect of simulated learning on blood pressure measurement skills

Aim To explore whether additional teaching and simulated learning of one-hour duration could improve the blood pressure measurement skills of nursing students.

Method A post-test experimental method was used to measure the outcome of additional, targeted simulated learning of blood pressure monitoring beyond normal curriculum content in adult branch nursing students in module one of a three-year nursing programme.

Results One hour of additional teaching and simulated learning improved the ability of nursing students to measure blood pressure accurately, with the data revealing a statistical difference between experimental and control groups in the systolic and diastolic accuracy of blood pressure monitoring.

Conclusion In a changing practice environment with fewer opportunities to develop clinical skills under supervision, there is a need for nurse educators and mentors to reconsider and research further methods used for blood pressure monitoring and other skills teaching using simulation for effective learning and skills acquisition.

Doing qualitative research

Professor Silverman’s reputation in the world of qualitative research precedes him and I am mindful of his status as I write this review. I am similarly mindful of Denzin’s equally eminent standing and note his positive review on the cover of this book in which he describes the content as ‘exceedingly thoughtful, practical and comprehensive ….’