A Critical Analysis of a Qualitative Study in Nursing

A Critical Analysis of a Qualitative Study in Nursing

Problem statement

In the US, the nursing workforce projections indicated that the shortage of registered
nurses (RN) would go past 500,000 RN by the year 2025. By the year 2008, there was a vacancy
rate of RN of more than 8% nationally in the US. According to evidence, experiences of the
newly licensed RN impacted directly on individual perceptions that are directly connected to the
profession (MacKusick & Minick, 2010). Approximately thirty to fifty percent of all the novel
RNs prefer to either leave the profession completely or change positions within the first three
years of their clinical practice. Regardless of the fact that there is immense data regarding the
bedside RN, there are minimal studies exploring RN perceptions for deciding to quit the clinical
practice. Comprehending the factors linked to RN’s practice decisions is acknowledged as the 1 st
step needed for developing efficient nursing-retention strategies (MacKusick & Minick, 2010).

Purpose and research questions

The research questions and purpose were entirely related to the problem. The study aimed
at identifying the factors that influenced RNs decision to quit the clinical nursing practice. The
research question that can be derived from the available information include;
What factors influenced the RNs to make the decision of quitting the clinical nursing practice?
Qualitative methods were appropriate for answering the research question since the study aimed
at seeking the reasons why RNs left their practice. Hence, interviewing them was the most
appropriate method since if an RN was uncomfortable discussing the reasons why he left the
practice, it would be easy to note this from their facial expressions. In addition, it would be easy
to know in anyone was lying (MacKusick & Minick, 2010). In essence, a qualitative research
method would facilitate quality data and, hence, research. Considering that the past clinical

nursing practice encompassed several settings of clinical practice, the researchers were specific
in defining the meaning of clinical nursing they would use in the study; offering direct patient
care in hospital settings.

Literature review

The authors cited both qualitative and quantitative studies that were relevant to the
study’s focus. The authors also used other kinds of literature since there was limited data on
individuals who were no longer working as nurses. Basically, there was literature regarding the
decision-making processes and perceptions of RNS who were no longer in the clinical practice.
Literature was reviewed using sociological/ psychological, labor, medical, and nursing databases.
Searches ended in 2007 before the interviews (MacKusick & Minick, 2010). The broad search
started with the GoogleScholar and later, it was narrowed to LexisNexis, PsycINFO, MEDline,
The references that the authors used are not current and went beyond the five-year limit
that is typically utilized for quantitative studies. However, since this is a qualitative study,
findings from older qualitative studies were very relevant. The authors used materials dated
2002, 2005, 2007, and 2006. The authors were keen to indicate and evaluate the available
studies’ weaknesses. The previous studies failed to examine the perceptions of the RNs in regard
to the decision to quit (MacKusick & Minick, 2010).
The literature review found minimal research regarding nurses who were no longer in the
clinical practice. However, there was need for research regarding the reasons why RNs decided
to quit the clinical practice; a topic that has been repeatedly overlooked in nursing policies’

Theoretical/ conceptual framework

The authors identified a particular perspective from which the development of the study
took (MacKusick & Minick, 2010). Since the research’s focus was linked to RNs perceptions
and there was no definitive research in existence regarding the phenomenon, a qualitative,
interpretive study was acknowledged as proper. Interpretive hermeneutic phenomenology, whose
intention was giving significance to the experience, was recognized as the ideal choice for
guiding the study.
In cases where researchers may be using the grounded theory form of qualitative inquiry,
they may come up with a diagram or framework as a component of the study findings. As far as
these study findings were concerned, there was no such framework or diagram in the findings.
This is an indication that the study never used the grounded theory method. On the contrary, the
study adopted a phenomenological research design with the intention of offering an in-depth
comprehension of the nurses’ decisions to quit the nursing practice (MacKusick & Minick,
In the year 2007, there were 10 semi-structured interviews that were audio taped. This
was also accompanied by field notes. The interviews were transcribed verbatim. Later, the
recordings and the transcription were compared for accuracy purposes. The authors were also
keen on noting the limitations in the study as well as the implications their study could have in
the field.



MacKusick, C. I., & Minick, P. (2010). Why are nurses leaving? Findings from an initial
qualitative study on nursing attrition. MEDSURG Nursing, 19(6), 335- 340.