Nursing Data Collection and Measurement

Fast Facts on the nursing workforce collected by the American Nurses Association (2014) relate to the key determinants that characterize the United States’ nursing profession. Such determinants included job growth rates, median salaries, occupations with the most annual openings, the highest concentration of registered nurses (RNs) per 100,000 population, age, gender, RNs in urban and rural areas, as well as education (including nursing schools) (American Nurses Association, 2014).

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The review of the facts shows that RN jobs are expected to grow in demand across the country, with the total number of RNs needed averaging 1.13 million (American Nurses Association, 2014). Median salaries in metropolitan areas are expected to be high, which presents massive opportunities for medical students to select the profession. Because of this, RNs rank the fifth largest trade for all educational levels. On the other hand, the average age of RNs is 50, with 53% of all nurses being over the age of 50, which points to the need to attract younger personnel to the profession (American Nurses Association 2014). Similarly, it is imperative to involve more male nurses to ensure a diverse workforce. Also, nursing schools offer jobs to their graduates, with the higher percentage falling in the Southern region of the U.S. (68%) (American Nurses Association, 2014).

The intent of the researcher that designed the survey on the nursing workforce was to show the future of the profession as well as identify challenges that need to be addressed. Among such challenges were the age and the gender of the RN workforce and the salary gap between metropolitan and other areas. By identifying the strengths and weaknesses of the profession, the researcher presented a strong foundation for future research on the issues that persist in the nursing profession.

A research design refers to the combination of tools and procedures used for the collection and analysis of variables that are unique to the problem of the study. Choosing the right research design is important because it defines the type of study a researcher wants to use; whether exploratory or conclusive, it is crucial for scientists to determine the direction they want to take when examining a particular phenomenon. After deciding upon the type of research design, it is then necessary to choose appropriate data collection tools that will ensure reliability and validity. Depending on the kind of data that needs to be collected (quantitative or qualitative), scientists can choose between surveys (census, sample, administrative data, tracer studies) or other methods (questionnaires, interviews, focus groups, observations, case studies) (EQAVET, n.d.). Data collection tools are important because they allow researchers to define the type of data that needs to be gathered for exploring a specific phenomenon.

With regards to exploring a particular clinical issue, combining qualitative and quantitative data is the most practical approach. Sample surveys can be used for collecting data about participants’ age, health status, or occupation, while questionnaires can be used to gather information about the participant’s attitudes towards the studied phenomenon because they provide a high level of validity and reliability (Treiman, Lu, & Qi, 2012). Data can be collected in different settings depending on the convenience of the researcher and participants. The most convenient data collection method is sending out surveys and questionnaires via e-mail for participants to complete and send back; an essential thing is collecting contact information while preserving participants’ anonymity. All levels of measurements (nominal, ordinal, interval, and ratio) can be used in research on clinical issues since they allow scientists to determine the nature of relationships between the studied variables.

The analysis of the Fast Facts on the nursing workforce showed that the profession would continue gaining popularity; the researcher identified several key challenges that need to be addressed. The paper also discussed the importance of choosing the right research design, data collection, and measurement tools for conducting a clinical study.

References

American Nurses Association. (2014). Fast facts. The nursing workforce 2014: Growth, salaries, education, demographics & trends. Web.

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EQAVET. (n.d.). Types of data collection tools. Web.

Treiman, D., Lu, Y., & Qi, Y. (2012). New approaches to demographic data collection. Chinese Sociological Review, 44(3), 56-85.

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