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Study of Nurses’ Knowledge of Palliative Care, Article Critique Example

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Article Critique

This is an analysis of a recent paper which was published in the Indian Journal of Palliative Care.  It is entitled “Study of Nurses’ Knowledge of Palliative Care: A Quantitative, Cross-Sectional Survey” and, as the title suggests, is a study about the knowledge base that nurses have when dealing with various aspects of end-of-life care.

Purpose, Study Question and Study Hypothesis

There was no explicitly stated hypothesis in this study, but the authors did note that there had been no study done thus far to evaluation nurses’ knowledge of palliative care based on a Palliative Care Knowledge Test (PCKT) so the researchers were particularly interested in this tool as a means of evaluation.  The purpose of this study was to assess the nurses’ knowledge base in regards to palliative care, since this base effect that way nurses care for the complex aspects of end-of-life-care, including the all-important area of pain control.

Study Design and Setting; Population Sample and Collection

The design of this study consisted of a cross-sectional survey which used a Palliative Care Knowledge Test (PCKT) to quantitatively study the knowledge base that nurses have in regards to palliative care. The PCKT consisted of 20 multiple choice questions to which respondents could answer in one of three ways: 1) correct, 2) incorrect, or 3) don’t know.  The questions dealt with five specific areas of palliative care: its philosophy, pain control, psychiatric issues, dyspnea, and gastro-intestinal issues.  The design setting was a multi-disciplinary hospital and the population survey consisted of 363 nurses who had attended a continuing education/professional development program.  The            questionnaires were handed out and then returned during the course of the program.

Statistics and Findings of the Study

The researchers state that their variables were done using one-way ANOVA and their correlations were done using Karl-Pearson’s co-efficient using the SPSS version of 16.0 for Windows. After analysis, the findings were that generally the knowledge of base of the nurses was poor (the average score for the overall test was around 35%) and that, of the five areas studied, the philosophy of palliative care and its associated psychiatric issues were the strongest areas of knowledge.  Female nurses outscored their male counterparts, but the difference was not statistically significant.  (P>.05). (Venkatsen, et. al., 2012, p. 125).

Recommendations

Due to the findings that nurses’ general knowledge of palliative care was generally so poor, the authors suggested that further research in this area would be of value.  They recommended future studies might considering a comparison of nurses’ knowledge when nurses are coming from different specialties within the profession and a comparison of various countries was also suggested.  They also pointed out that other studies could look at “different ways of knowing, methods of knowledge construction, the inter-relationship between practice and research…in palliative care nursing” (Venkatsen, et. al. 2012, p. 127).

Opinion of Study and its Application for the Future

This was a noteworthy study, because end-of-life care can be one of the most complex but important parts of nursing and if the nurse’s knowledge base in this area is not strong, the patient will surely suffer.  As someone who is interested in hospice/end-of-life care, this article of was particular interest and is a good reminder of how important a good knowledge base is for the increasingly complicated and important role that nursing plays in the healthcare profession.

References

Venkatesen, P.et al. (2012) “Study of Nurses’ Knowledge of Palliative Care: A Quantitative,  Cross-Sectional Survey”.  Indian Journal of Palliative Care. 18(2) 122-127

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