This is a critique of the paper titled Sources of stress in nursing students: a systematic review of quantitative studies by three University of Jaen scholars. All components of the article were evaluated for strengths and weaknesses. It was concluded that the paper was not well written and that it should not inform any clinical practice process.
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The title of the paper summarizes the scope of coverage of the document. However, the reader cannot immediately tell whether the studies in the review were conducted by one or more researchers. The gaps left in the title could lead the reader to believe that the articles being studied all focussed on identifying the sources of stress for nursing students.
In the introduction, the authors describe stress as a “dynamic interaction between the individual and environment” (Pulido, Augusto & Lopez, 2012, p.15). Although they expound on this in subsequent paragraphs, they do not convincingly describe the word ‘stress’. The reader is forced to read through layers of jargon to get the meaning of the definition.
The objectives of this study are also not properly linked with the title, which according to Schmidt and Brown (2009) creates gaps. The authors say their main objective is to identify the sources of stress among nursing students (Pulido, Augusto & Lopez, 2012). This is different from the title’s prompting that the paper would only review studies by other scholars. By reading the objectives it is not clear if the authors want to use the work of other scholars to help them come up with their own conclusion, or if they plan to do their own independent data collection.
The methodology section explains that a number of journals will be perused and documents with titles corresponding to the topic picked (Pulido, Augusto & Lopez, 2012). The authors of the paper describe this as a quantitative method. However, based on their explanation, this methodology involves both qualitative and quantitative approaches.
The results section proves that the methodology chosen was not in tandem with the topic of discussion. Most of the results focus on the tally of articles identified and how they were filtered to yield a specific research sample. The qualitative element of the task has been given adequate prominence and it helped highlight the authors’ plan.
Because the entire project was designed to study scholarly literature by other people, there was no apparent need to introduce a literature review. The discussion part of the paper describes the kind of research that was done by the authors of each article. However, the scholars have a difficult time trying to group the data from the different sources together because the researchers behind them employed varied methodologies.
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The implications for the practice section is also short for this paper. The papers under review had different findings, all of which had unique implications for practice. The tone in which this section is written is also not indicative of the fact that the research was a study of works by other writers. The section gives the reader the impression that the writers did the tests on subjects to come up with the findings that informed the implications.
In the conclusion, the authors confirm that the approach they took was difficult to implement because of the different methodologies in the papers under study. As part of the conclusion, the authors say that they have identified the stressors that affect nursing students and have come up with recommendations of how they can be tackled. This, however, is not true because Pulido, Augusto and Lopez did not do any original research. They should have written the conclusion in a way that clearly shows that the findings and recommendations were made by other people and all they did was aggregate it. Based on these shortcomings, the paper should not be used to either change or maintain any clinical practice activity.
Schmidt, N. and Brown, J. (2009). Evidence Based Practice for Nurses. California: Jones and Bartlett Publishers
Pulido, M.M., Augusto, L.J., & Lopez, Z. (2012). Sources of stress in nursing students: a systematic review of quantitative studies. International nursing review, 59, 15-25.