FEASIBILITY STUDYWhen thinking about a research question to write for the feasibility study I hadto think about whattopics were currently relevant to nursing practice in Adultnursing as well as in the popular news. As patient privacy and dignity are verybig issues within the NHS right now it has become very high priority part as theessence of care. One question which occurred to me was, ‘Is patients’ dignitycompromised on mixed-sex wards?’ Working on placements I saw for myselfthe importance of single sex wards and observed from the patients’ point ofview that it was lessembarrassing for them and therefore makes the healingenvironment a better place.Therefore, I started to look at the research that surrounded the subject and mychosen question. I also thought about how I was going to undertake theresearch so that it was valid, relevant, from both primary and secondarysources and unbiased. As Punch asks ‘what is its purpose and what is it tryingto achieve?’ (Punch, 2000). (Leliopoulou 2011)When thinking about myquestion I thought it would be useful for what is happening within the NHS atthe moment. Also what would be the best approach to this type of study? Asanurse I wanted to understand the research behind issues of privacy anddignity and changing modern cultural sensitivity to these areas.When deciding how to conduct the literature search, there are two types ofstrategy to choose from suchas PICO and SPICE. As this is a qualitative study,based on gathering opinions and views, I used PICO which is the acronym for:P- Patient/Population meaning who or what? I- intervention meaning how? C-Comparison meaning what is the main alternative? O - Outcome meaningwhatis they trying to accomplish, measure, improve, effect? (Leliopoulou.2011). This allows you to take a more evidence-based approach to theliterature and also allows you to use databases such as MEDLINE or CINHAL.So I went onto the university databasesand eventually settled on CINHALas ithas the largest choice of journals to choosefrom,although MEDLINE did comeup with the same articles. The key words I put in were the key words from mychosen question, so: ‘dignity’, ‘patients’, ‘mixed-sex wards’, ‘nurses’ and‘compromised’. From the table below (Table 1) it is obvious that initially I used
the word OR in the search terms and it gave me an overwhelming number ofresults. When I narrowed it by changing the word to AND it gave me 9 hits thatincluded all the key words I was interested in. I read the abstracts of each ofthese 9, and saw that 4 of them did not really address all the issues takentogether that I was interested in. For example one of these had picked up onthe words ‘patient’ and ‘dignity’ but were concerned with colon-rectal wardsand the dignity of the patients undergoing that kind of surgery. So I was ableto eliminate them as not being relevant.Table 1. Showing research results.The five articles chosen were as follows: ‘Mixed-sex wards and patient dignity:nurses’ and patients’ perspectives’ by L Baillie; ’Mixed- sex wards: the choice ofpatients?’ by no authors given; ‘No mixed sex please…. Mixed-sex wards’ by ACole;’ Improving patients’ privacy and dignity on mixed-sex wards, by N Hairon.And finally Experience of mixed-sex bays in a general hospital’ by D Bryant; JAdams. The abstracts of all these five articles are in Appendix 1.All these five articles satisfy the guidelines for literature reviews in that theyfocus directly on my research question and they were all up to datebaraingtwo of them, written by academics or nursing/medical professionals; theywere peer reviewed and were all based on qualitative methodology, usingsemi-structured interviews and observations, talking to patients and staff togather their perspectives, referring to thefour ‘ps’ People, Progress, Problemsand phenomenon. (Leliopoulou 2011).These articles all used evidence from general and surgical wards, mostlygathering information from randomly chosen patients using ethical
considerations, all were based on actual interviews that did not rely on leadingquestions. The majority overall indicated that patients of all ages and sexesprefer to be in single sex wards. From the point of view of nurses interviewedthey felt that it would also make their jobs easier and more focussed on theneeds of both sexes if they were on separate wards. In short therefore, thesefive articles provided reliable evidence for the feasibility of a dissertation onthis research question.To conclude, when I began the research I still didn’t feel confident that Iunderstood the process of looking for relevant and valid literature that Ineeded. However, after spending time in the library and having being shownhow to conduct a literature search, it made it much easier to undertake. Asmentioned, I also learned from trial and error which search terms worked andwhich yielded too many hits, and needed narrowing down. Above all, I realisethat it took much more time than I had expected to go through the databases,read the abstracts, research primary and secondary sources and dobackground reading. For example, I used The Guardian news archive to lookinto the historical background to this issue and found that in 1997 Blair’sgovernment did consider the possibility of changing all hospitals to single-sexwards (Fleming 2007). Finally, on reflection, I do feel that when conducting adissertation in the future I will be more confident about the process toundertake, the time to allow for the different stages, the availability ofdatabases and the importance of choosing the right search engine andidentifying a rich and relevant research topic.