A quantitative exploration of the subjective burden experienced by nurses when caring for patients with delirium

A critical analysis 2

Various researchers have conducted various quantitative studies over the years. These studies are expected to meet a certain level of standards to enhance their credibility. This paper critically analyses the study, “A quantitative exploration of the subjective burden experienced by nurses when caring for patients with delirium,” by Mc Donnell and Timmins, (2012), by focusing on protection of human participants, data collection, data analysis, problem statement, and interpretation of findings.

 The study aimed at examining the subjective burden that nurses experience as they render their services to the patients suffering from acute delirium. Acute delirium is a condition that is preventable and treatable. It affects the conscious and cognition of an individual.

Protection of human participants

 In conducting a study, human participants are very important in ensuring that the study is successful (Bristol & Hicks, 2014). The researchers even though do not address the benefits and risks of participation; they acknowledge the input of the nurses that took part. Informed consent was sort from the participants. The researchers sampled a list of nurses registered with the national regulatory body for nurses and midwives in the Republic of Ireland. A letter of invitation and explanation was attached to the questionnaires requesting the participants to fill the questionnaires. There was no approval by a review board from the agency in which the study was conducted because the nature of study was an online survey of nurses located in different regions, but the sampling surveys complied with ABA policy. However, the researchers received ethical approval by Faculty of Health Sciences at the University. The participants participated voluntarily in the study because out of the number sampled, only 22.62% responded.

Problem statement

 The research presents a problem on the study by providing information on the backgrounds of the study. The researchers establish the need for the study by pointing out the inadequate strategies that nurses can use to deal with the increased functional demands associated with providing care for persons suffering from delirium.

Data Collection

Data collection is another important process in quantitatively research (Burns & Grove, 2011). In this study, major variables were not identified and defined. The data was collected using strain of care for Delirium Index (SCDI) that was developed and tested (Mc Donnell & Timmins, 2012). The rationale for using this method was that it was appropriate and had been found to be effective when it comes to common behaviors associated with delirium. Furthermore, the researchers had requested permission from the original author to use the instrument hence was valid. The instrument was a 20-item measurement representing four-closed responses. The time or duration for data collection was not provided. The process of data collection began by creating a sample and choosing the selected sample through ABA. The sample selected was sent a letter of invitation and explanation of the purpose of the study. The participants were then expected to fill the questionnaires and send them back for analysis.

Data Management and Analysis

Data management and analysis is also an important step in research study. In this study, the researchers analyzed data using a statistical software package for social scientists (SPSS Version 16) (Mc Donnell & Timmins, 2012). This software was adopted to enhance the level of accuracy. Because of inadequate experiences on the use of this software, researchers employed the service of a statistician that provided specialist advice and guidance. Therefore, the use of an independent statistician also helped to reduce the instances of research biasness. There was no paper trail maintained during the study. In detecting significant relationships between variables, the researchers used Cramer’s V measures of association.

 Findings / Interpretation of Findings

The researchers assert that nurses experienced elevated levels of stress when managing delirium. The level of stress varies among nurses. Nurses that received training on the disorders were more equipped to manage delirium and therefore experienced less difficulty in dealing with various behaviors. With the increased nurse’s knowledge and awareness of the condition through education and service training, this will help to enhance prevention and detection of the disorders among the patients. Teaching of nurses should incorporate skills and information about the disorder, especially nurses working with older people.

The findings of the study are, therefore, a true representation of the reality. Nurses would experience stress and burden if they lack the experience and training of how to deal with patients suffering from this disorder. The findings were presented in a logical manner, enhancing understanding.

However, there were some limitations that characterized the study. Some of the limitations identified in the study included poor response rates that may trigger biasness and questionable representativeness of the selected sample. The researchers also used a four point Likert rating scale instead of the five point Likert rating scale that provides a median response (Mc Donnell & Timmins, 2012).

 Implications of the findings to nursing practice are evident. The nurses can use the research findings to come up with appropriate strategies to reduce their level of stress through education and training. The findings applied to general areas of nursing and to specific people. Delirium affects the whole population but gaining training to manage elderly people with the disorder can help to reduce stress and burden among the nurses. The researchers provide an opportunity for further studies to help support local health service levels for the nurses.


Bristol, S., & Hicks, R. (2014). Protecting boundaries of consent in clinical research:        Implications for improvement. Nursing Ethics, 21(1):16-27.

Burns, N., & Grove, S. (2011). (Jnderstanding Nursing Research (5e ed.).

            Elsevier. ISBN-13 : 9781437707502

Mc Donnell, S., & Timmins, F. (2012). A quantitative exploration of the subjective burden           experienced by nurses when caring for patients with delirium. Journal of Clinical          Nursing, 21(17/18): 2488-2498.

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