Seeking answers

first_imgSeeking answersOn 1 Sep 2000 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos. Comments are closed. Undertaking research may be a daunting prospect, but tackled logically withthe aid of varied sources, it can reap rewards. In our special learning issue,we offer some guidance on embarking on study and a resource section with usefulcontacts.  By Greta Thornbory Have you got a health problem at your workplace or do you just think youhave? You want to know, and decide to do some research. You grab a pen andstart to make notes: you could send around a questionnaire, you could visit thedepartment and ask questions, but wait a minute, what is known already? Who hasdone work on this in the past – preferably the recent past. And how do you findout? Communications via a new discussion-based web site1 show OH professionalsare asking the questions but aren’t always sure where to find the answers. What”research” have they done to start with? The term “research” is not always a popular word, as it isassociated with academic work that is far-removed from everyday practice2. Yethealthcare practitioners want to do the right thing in preventing ill-healthand promoting good health. “Clinical effectiveness is about doing theright thing in the right way and at the right time for the rightperson.”3, 4. You may have already grabbed a pen to start making some notes about what youwant to know. Talking this over with colleagues may help. It is important to beclear about what it is you want to find out (see case study). Case study An OH nurse wanted to know about the uptake of hepatitis B vaccine. It wasnot clear if there were any parameters to this. Presumably, as this was aquestion asked by an OH nurse it was regarding adults of working age only, butwas that only because there was an OH need for the vaccination? Was it arecommendation or a mandatory requirement for the type of work undertaken? The question needed to be narrowed down – for example: “What is theuptake of recommended hepatitis B vaccine in healthcare workers?” What is already known? Before rushing off to do lengthy research, questionnaires etc, it isimportant to find out what has been researched about the subject already –commonly called a “literature search”. Again, many practitioners areput off by the terminology and think this is only for academics. This is notso. A literature search is a systematic search of published material to findinformation that refers to the condition or question you are investigating3. Itis the basis for evidence-based practice and clinical effectiveness. Others areunsure of how to go about this, but there are several books and articles on thesubject and librarians, even in a local library, would be happy to help. Now you have the information Is it relevant, up-to-date, research-based evidence or just someone’sopinion? Just some of the questions you need to bear in mind before taking yourfindings as gospel. Questioning what someone else has said or written –”critical appraisal” – is good practice. All the texts referenced at the end of this article will give you moreinformation on this process, but it may be a good place to start your ownliterature search. Reflect on what you have learnt from this experience and allsubsequent experiences and how it applies to your practice, it is then part ofyour own “continuing professional development” and, for nurses, maybe included in your profile for Prep purposes. References 1 www.mailbase.ac.uk2 Ogier, M (1989) Reading Research London: Scutari Press 3 Royal College of Nursing (1996) Clinical Effectiveness. A Royal College ofNursing Guide, London, RCN 4 Royal College of Nursing (1999) Doing the right thing: Clinical 5 Effectiveness for Nurses London: RCN Sources of informationProfessional organisations If you belong to a professional body, such as the Royal College of Nursing,there are people who will help you (see box ). Workplace and local libraries These may not be specifically dedicated to nursing, or even healthcare, butsome topics are “transferable” to any area of work such asinterpersonal, communication and management knowledge and skills. Oftenlibraries offer access to the Internet, either free or for a small charge. Itis worth investigating what you have available locally, or at work.Other libraries There are many organisations that provide OH professionals with access toinformation, such as The Kings Fund and The Wellcome Institute, as well as theBritish Library. Further information can be found in the Guide to Libraries andInformation Services in Medicine and Health Care. British Library, 2000 andDirectory of Medical and Health Care Libraries in the United Kingdom andRepublic of Ireland 1997-8 (10th edition). Library Association Publishing,London. Specialist organisations last month when preparing to write themultiple-choice questions for the CPD article on diabetes I contacted, bye-mail, Diabetes UK (previously the British Diabetic Society) who undertook aliterature search on “diabetes and work” for me, plus sent meleaflets and research articles on the topic. Other specialist charities,equipment manufacturers and pharmaceutical companies will often do the same.The InternetThe amount of information available on the Internet is endless. There are a number of healthcare-related sitesthat are useful and it is worth making a note of those given in the News Links,Resource Guide articles and advertisements. Bookmark or store these for futurehandy reference. There is no “quality control”, however, over theInternet so treat the information with caution unless it is a reputable site.If you do not have access to, or know how to use, the Internet then make enquiriesat work and/or at your local library for guidance.Royal College of Nursing servicesRCN Direct a 24-hour information and helpline for members: 0345726100RCN Library lending service for members in London; Northern Ireland,Scotland and Wales. Books may be borrowed from the London library by mail forwhich there is a charge for postage and a small administration feeRCN Library catalogue available on the Internet at www.rcn.org.ukLiterature searching (for full members only) Photocopies of journalarticles by post; local resource centresFull details of the library services are available on the RCN web site or [email protected]  or phone 020-7647 3610 or RCN Directlast_img read more

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