Critiquing a Nursing Article with Picot Essay

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Right," Gaffney et al. (2012) examine how nurses respond to workplace bullying. The authors point out that although the consequences of workplace bullying include diminished performance and rises in problems like absenteeism and turnover, there is limited research and limited information about workplace bullying in the healthcare sector. In fact, the purpose of this study is to help administrators improve patient outcomes by reducing workplace bullying or aggression, which reflects a hostile work environment. This is a qualitative study with research questions related to the prevalence and specific manifestations or types of workplace bullying, and also the strategies nurses use to minimize or mitigate workplace bullying. Gaffney et al. (2012) set out to examine what workplace bullying looks like in different scenarios, how workplace bullying is perceived and responded to by both nurses and patients, and how nurses respond to bullying that targets either themselves or colleagues. The research questions are clearly stated prior to the methods section and within the introduction.

Because there is a dearth of literature on workplace bullying in nursing, the authors do not provide a comprehensive review of literature. However, it would have been better had the authors cited studies on workplace bullying in other fields. Because the research is exploratory in nature, there are no directional hypotheses; the authors seek to understand the phenomenon and provide directions for future research and strategies for nurse management. The study is directly relevant to the healthcare practice because of the clear impact bullying has on the workplace environment and on patient outcomes too.


2. Constructivist grounded theory methods are used, whereby the researchers identify how participants construct their social realities subjectively and objectively via qualitative research collected in online and offline settings. Data collection methods included a 30-item online survey, with informed consent.

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In total, 81 different participant narratives were collected and analyzed. The narratives were systematically coded for content, themes, and patterns. A theoretical coding process was also used to discover relationships between the different categories that emerged during the process of data collection.

3. The study population included nurses that "existed both online and offline," meaning no disembodied consciousness participants were permitted (Gaffney, et al., 2012, p. 3). In spite of the reliability and validity problems with soliciting participants online, the researchers do not identify how they restricted participation to nurses. Although the sample size of 81 was adequate, it is impossible to know whether the participants were actually nurses because their identification and credentialing could not be collected due to the need to protect anonymity, privacy, and confidentiality. Moreover, the researchers do not indicate the professional status, degree of experience, and nurse role of any participant.

4. The data collection method included coding the responses, and no statistical tests or analyses were necessary. There is some degree of validity and reliability with the structured interview type method using theoretical coding, and this method happens to be appropriate for this research. However, there is a low degree of validity and reliability in the study overall due to design weaknesses.


5. The authors do include a table with the categories and subcategories relevant to the research. There were no statistics collected, and therefore no need to explain the results of statistical tests. Results of the study do show there are some core categories and subcategories of bullying. The core category is "making things right," divided into four main issues: the placing of bullying….....

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Gaffney, D.A., et al. (2012). Making things right. Nursing Research and Practice 2012, doi:10.1155/2012/243210.

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