Critique of a Research Article: Introduction
The article “Is Distance Education the Answer to the Nursing Shortage” raises an interesting issue that should be analyzed by stakeholders in the healthcare sector. The author examines how the increased demand for nurses and nursing education has led to the promotion of diverse learning opportunities. The scholar argues that there has been a need to expand nursing programs to include distance learning. The author’s research problem is that many professionals and academicians have not been aware of “the effectiveness of distance education compared with traditional education” (Mee, 2014, p. 158). To complete the study, the author used two research questions. The first one was to understand the effectiveness of distance learning in comparison with contemporary campus-based education (Mee, 2014). The second one was to analyze if the use of distance education could sufficiently address the issue of the nursing shortage. The researcher’s main point after completing the study was that distance learning was as effective as campus education. To arrive at this point, the author used quantitative measures to examine the outcomes of learners in both settings using SPSS.
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The author used this null hypothesis for the research: “There is no difference in student learning outcomes among students registered for campus-based learning and distance learning environments” (Mee, 2014, p. 159). The study concluded that both learning environments offered similar opportunities to targeted learners. A powerful research method or process was used to complete the study. Quantitative measures were used to monitor the outcomes of learners in different learning formats. These measures included exams whereby numeric scores were captured. The author analyzed the gathered descriptive statistics using SPSS 20. The observation was that there were no significant differences between the targeted students. Distance education could, therefore, be embraced to teach more individuals and address the current predicament of the nursing shortage.
Evaluating the Research Methods
The author of the selected article does not provide a literature review. However, the researcher presents a background section to describe the issues characterizing the American healthcare sector. In this section, the scholar acknowledges the fact that there is a need to attract more nurses in the sector. Using the views presented by the Institute of Medicine (IOM), the author supports the need to increase the number of nurses who can take up different roles in the sector (MacLean et al., 2014). The background information is used to explain why distance education can be expanded to address the existing challenges.
The information presented in the research is current and relevant to the major health issues affecting many countries. The nursing shortage is currently making it hard for more people to acquire quality services. Registered nurses have also been looking for better careers and economic activities. Access to quality education is also a major concern in different parts of the world (Mee, 2014). The author borrows the ideas of the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) to explain why distance learning could address the issues affecting the healthcare sector. The expansion of online or distance learning can attract more people to the nursing profession.
To come up with meaningful findings, the researchers used correlational research. This approach relies on the use of two variables without controlling the outcomes (Carpenter, 2016). The researcher focused on the educational outcomes of learners who received campus and distance instructions. The author went further to collect quantitative measures and analyzed them statistically (Mee, 2014).
The study relied on the use of an effective sample size. Students pursuing their AAS programs were identified for the research. Fifteen individuals registered as distance learners were identified for the study. The number of campus-based nursing learners was 25 (Mee, 2014). The composition included learners in different academic years and semesters for the two formats. From this analysis, it should be observed that the sample for the study was appropriate. This is true because the sample size empowered the scholar to obtain and analyze quantitative measures using SPSS 20.
The findings presented in this article are relevant to the field of nursing. The study approach made it easier for the researcher to compare the effectiveness of the two learning formats. The two formats were observed to equip learners with adequate theoretical ideas that could be applied successfully in healthcare (Mee, 2014). The author strongly believes that the results can successfully be applied in the field to improve patient outcomes. Distance education can equip students with adequate skills that can be used to support the health needs of more patients. Consequently, the attraction of more learners in the sector will eventually increase the number of nurses (Mee, 2014).
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The study conducted by the researcher is relevant and capable of addressing some of the issues affecting the healthcare sector. However, the author could have improved the study by incorporating several experimental courses throughout the learning process. By doing so, it would have been possible for the author to understand how the two formats supported experimental and laboratory skills. This addition would have improved the study and present adequate insights regarding the acquisition of laboratory skills (Mee, 2014). The gathered information could then be used to inform the study and present better recommendations.
The writing in the presented article is quite straightforward. The author has selected the right words and concepts. The approach has made it easier for the scholar to present evidence-based nursing ideas and concepts (MacLean et al., 2014). When more people embrace the power of distance learning, it will be possible to transform the health outcomes of more Americans (Mee, 2014).
It is acknowledgeable that further research can be conducted on this subject. The study explores the major differences in campus and distance learning. Future scholars can use this gap to describe how the two formats differ in terms of information literacy, learning style, concentration, and technological proficiency (Mee, 2014). The gathered information will be used to develop better programs capable of addressing the unique issues facing nursing practice.
Nurses should focus on the idea of lifelong learning. The author’s argument is that distance learning can guide nurses to acquire new skills applicable to medical practice. Online learning presents new opportunities and benefits that can be tapped to address the problem of the nursing shortage. Such programs should be redesigned in such a way that they can equip learners with advanced competencies for effective practice. These issues, therefore, echo the discussions presented in the selected article. As described by the IOM, various initiatives such as distance learning have the potential to empower nursing students to meet the diverse needs of more clients (Carpenter, 2016). Combined with campus learning, distance education will attract more learners and eventually transform the healthcare sector.
Carpenter, S. (2016). What deters nurses from participating in web-based graduate nursing programs? Nurse Education Today, 36(1), 70-76. Web.
MacLean, L., Hassmiller, S., Shaffer, F., Rohrbaugh, K., Collier, T., & Fairman, J. (2014). Scale, causes, and implications of the primary care nursing shortage. Annual Review of Public Health, 35(1), 443-457. Web.
Mee, S. (2014). Is distance education the answer to the nursing shortage? Open Journal of Nursing, 4(1), 158-162. Web.