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Analysis of the Quantitative Study in Nursing Education

The background and significance section of the piece indicated the reasons for the research’s conducting. The first reason is that, despite attempts to prevent medical errors, progress in this area is minimal, so effort should be aimed at their recovery (Gaffney et al., 2016). The second reason is that nurses have direct contact with patients and correct the most medical mistakes, but the influence of personal qualities and organizational factors in this process has not been studied.

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The researchers do not offer hypotheses, but they ask three research questions that express the relationship between independent and dependent variables. These questions aim to determine the influence of nurses’ level of experience and education, their personal qualities, and organizational factors on the covered medical errors (Gaffney et al., 2016). These research questions and goals were substantiated by scientific information provided in the background. In addition, each research question is independent, so the relationship between different variables can be estimated without reference to other questions and can be a rationale for introducing changes in nursing practice. For example, finding a link between educational, personal qualities, and success in correcting medical errors can be arguments for funding nursing education and training. The influence of organizational factors on this process can indicate a need for changes in nursing responsibilities and workload distribution.

The study does not have a part of the literature review; therefore, some elements necessary for the study’s justification are missing. For example, the authors do not discuss the strengths and weaknesses of published studies. Simultaneously, in the background section, the authors provide a significant part of the information to substantiate the research questions. For example, Gaffney et al. (2016) provide theoretical evidence on the impact of nursing experience on error recovery from research by Benner (1984) and McHugh and Lake (2010). In addition, the authors also provide figures on the number of errors corrected per procedure from the study by Yang et al. (2012) (Gaffney et al., 2016). As a result, in an organized format that flows logically, the authors present the arguments that explain weaknesses and gaps in the published literature to justify the need for research.

The authors of the study do not propose methods for eliminating threats to internal and external validity. The only measures for this purpose were the use of various count regression models and the selection of the most appropriate one, as well as meticulous sampling (Gaffney et al., 2016). However, the authors cite nursing bias in self-questioning, the sensitivity of the topic of medical errors, and the small number of participants as a limitation of the study. A descriptive, correlation study with a cross-sectional design was used for the research (Gaffney et al., 2016). The authors did not provide a sufficient rationale for the use of this design, but it seems to flow from the proposed research question, since the study requires several issues to be examined in parallel. Control data are also not noted by Gaffney et al. (2016); however, they cite the results’ similarity with studies by other authors. Consequently, the study design has many flaws in its justification.

The sampling strategy is appropriate for this study. Gaffney et al. (2016) used two recruiting mechanisms, such as a four-hospital healthcare system in a mid-Atlantic state and a professional nurses association. Participants who were not a medical-surgical nurse and could not write English were excluded. Although the sample size was not sufficient, it reflected the population defined in the research question, and the findings could be generalized to medical-surgical nurses. Gaffney et al. (2016) do not note how participants’ rights were protected but say that the study was categorized as exempt from Institutional Review Board (IRB) review, and completion of the survey was considered informed consent. Thus, the sampling strategy is consistent with the objectives of the study.

The authors justified characteristics for selecting research questions but did not make arguments in favor of data collection methods. The data collection process was conducted by using web surveys and Qualtrics® web-based software (Gaffney et al., 2017). Therefore, observers and interviews were not used in this study. The survey tools were Liker’s scale, the Recovered Medical Error Inventory (RMEI), and the Ten-Item Personality Inventory (TIPI) (Gaffney et al., 2017). These scales are suitable for research because they most accurately reflect common medical errors and nurses’ personal qualities. Besides, the reliability of instruments was not tested, although other studies proved their appropriateness. Consequently, the fidelity of the data, in general, is high due to the accuracy of the selected questions, but the bias of self-questioners and untested reliability of instruments reduces it.

The descriptive statistics are appropriate to the measurement level for each variable and design, since it explains relations between variables. Besides, Gaffney et al. (2017) use tables and figures to supplement and economize texts, for example, tables with sample demographics or figure to explain the process of sampling. All tables have precise titles and headings and do not repeat the text. Consequently, testing supports a strong dependence of error recovery on the education and experience of nurses, moderate association with organizational factors, but requires more information to find connections with the personal qualities of a nurse.

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The authors presented the results and conclusions objectively, concisely, and consistently. However, the part representing the connection between nurses’ personal qualities and error recovery is basically absent. The authors also present the study’s limitations and suggest further research directions, for example, identifying organizational factors that affect error recovery. The recommendations and relevance of the study are also discussed in the conclusion.

In general, the use of evidence supporting the need for nursing education benefits patients with any accuracy of results but can be costly for hospitals if expectations are not met. The lack of validation of research methods and data outweighs the strengths, since the results are useless without accuracy. However, this study can be carried out in another clinical setting after correcting the authors’ shortcomings.


Gaffney, T.A., Hatcher, B.J., Milligan, R., & Trickey, A. (2016). Enhancing patient safety: Factors influencing medical error recovery among medical-surgical nurses. OJIN: The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, 21(3). Web.

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