An educational oxymoron

I almost dropped this class-the second semester of Nurse Research. The professor was pretty much incognito and it was all so confusing but I took the day off to write up my second paper-a critique of a qualitative study

Amazingly enough I am enjoying it! I assisted in setting up contacts for an ethnographic study in England. I was meant to be able to do some observations but it became an ethical conflict of interest because my nursing registration would require me to act in instances where I knew proper care was not being done. The observers ended up being sociologists and psychologists but at least I “get it”.

I think I prefer Qualitative research-it is about looking at phenomena or a cultural situation and investigating how the people involved or affected by it describe their situation. It’s very touchy feely…like this one about how mothers cope with a child that suffers a birth trauma injury called Brachial Plexus Injury.

I was told (quite rudely by this person) recently that general mass media studies are better than “anecdotes”- you know the ones like this which tells you that walking more steps is healthy….duh?

or the infamous WHO ranking of national healthcare systems (all 214 pages that never gets read and is widely criticized) which gets filtered down to a sound bite of basically free cheese for anyone who wants to diss the US.

Qualitative research is a systematic collection and synthesis of anecdotes. They are human experience translated by a slow, painstaking coding process by dedicated researchers that describe in vivid, encompassing detail a particular experience often shared by a relatively small group of people. These are not large studies with thousands of people-these are often less than 50 participants but if it’s your unique experience then it is invaluable and validating.

back to the books!


and I thought statistics was tough…

I am now up to my eyeballs in “nursing research”.  In my online class, we have small group discussions. One guy is obviously waaaaay ahead of the rest of us. Today he posted his answer to the question that will last the next 2 weeks….I, and probably the rest of the group have only just cracked the book/read the article.

My new vocabulary sounds something like this:

  • retrospective design, cohort design, prospective design, correlation design-so far so good
  • descriptive research, descriptive correlational research, univariate descriptive studies, prevelance studies, incidence studies- I’m fading quickly
  • counterfactual, blinding-single & double,pretest/postest, factorial design, crossover and quasi-experimental-help!!!
  • nonequivalent control group, propensity matching regression discontinuity design, rival hypotheses-shoot me now!

I am determined to crack this research nut and get at least a “C” in this class.

My hair is looking more and more like this guy…and it’s not because we share any intellectual similarities




3 weeks after

my big spill. the one that gave me a torn hamstring~
i’m waiting to hear from the hospital lawyer
i am walking but it’s not great-now i just have a constant ache and weakness. NOT HAPPY about that.
at least i am able to concentrate and move around enough to take care of myself.
i am working on some data from the research i did in england, my boss and the nurse from newcastle thought we could get an abstract together for me to present in Lisbon. i am kind of disappointed because the data is pretty unimpressive. my boss is always able to find a new angle so we’ll see what happens. he said i could rewrite my poster presentation from berlin for a US conference so maybe i will be in san diego in october….

it’s amazingly warm and sunny here-around 80F and supposed to stay in the 70’s for the next week…which means we will probably get a snowstrom for my birthday!
cleo has been checking out the back yard (in addition to parking herself on the laptop) and that is nice to see.

i still have a very big mountain to climb, bridge to cross…hot coals to walk over in a week or so, not looking forward to that but can’t escape it either.

here we go again….

some may remember the drama my trip to barcelona last year where i did a 15 minute presentation to 200 doctors in barcelona?

well, i just got notified that my abstract for this year in berlin has been accepted…

Dear a tracy,

Re: ESICM LIVES 2011, 24th Annual Congress, Berlin, Germany, 1-5 October 2011

We thank you for submitting the abstract A-386-0019-00916 entitled

Validating the diagnosis of Central Venous Catheter Blood-Stream Infections (CVC-BSIs) in ICUs in England

for presentation at our next Annual Congress.

We are pleased to inform you that your abstract has been selected by the Congress Scientific Committee to be presented at our Berlin Congress. Congratulations!

We received 1303 abstracts out of which 12% were rejected.

We will provide you with your presentation details in July 2011.

My first reaction was~~ oh shit!!….i don’t know if will be a presentation again or  *fingers crossed* a poster but it’s good i guess…even the people i work with now are excited!

just call me tequila

I think i’m going to like my new job…mainly because i love snooping through patients records and i like putting puzzles together and that’s exactly what i’m going to be doing…

after 3 days of reading policies etc today they gave me a little job to get my feet wet….i was taught how to report STDs (sexually transmitted diseases) to the Chicago Dept of Health. i thought syphilis and gonorrhea were eradicated…i would have thought…who gets stuff like that anymore?

well, well, well….19 year old girls get them…on a yearly basis. 51 year old HIV+ married men get them….14 year old girls get them despite claiming they use condoms 99% of the time.

and girls named deshonda and patricia and tequila…you gotta feel like a girl named tequila is just being set up for life as a hooker.

my hopsital has an adolescent family planning clinic and they do a really comprehensive assesment. i was really impressed that they ask these girls whther they have ever been abused, forced or coherced into sex and ask directly “do you feel safe in your current relationship?”

they also ask about their safe/unsafe sex practices such as condom use, oral or anal sex. i thought it quite odd that the 14 year old girl who admits to having  sex with 3 different men “can’t” swallow pills and needed her prescription in liquid form…

the missing piece in all this?? where are the young men these women are sleeping with??  spreading “the love” to the next girl??

next week i will go on to surgical site infections, urinary catheter infections and my old favorite…CVC infections.

tonight i submitted my abstract for the research i was doing in england…big relief…if it’s accepted, i’ll be off to berlin in october!

the perfect research project for me

aside from studying how long a middle aged woman can sleep or how many empty boxes can be stored in the average semi detached loft….studying whether snails have homing tendancies would be right up my alley…

Homing Snails Experiment: Snail Swapping

The Great Snail Swap by Ruth Brooks

Ruth Brooks and her grandson.

You and a friend will collect, mark and swap snails, then monitor them for one week..

We would like to know: how many snails return home, and how many set up home in their new garden.

Our results will help gardeners to control snails humanely, and will provide fascinating insights into their behaviour.

Our printable booklet contains instructions about the experiment, and a results table for you to fill out. Then you will need to enter the data online for the results to be analysed

unfortuately step one is slightly problematic as i don’t have any equally snail obsessed neighbors…


Ruth Brooks and her grandson.

Find a friend or neighbour who is willing to swap snails with you.

i’ll have to ask ruth if i can just collect them and take them some distance away and wait and see if any come back….