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Uses of Statistical Information

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Uses of Statistical Information
Statistics are used throughout nursing daily, between evidence-based research and patient care. Quality improvement based statistics are done by using software such as IBM SPSS Statistics. Continuous quality improvement plans involve patient and staff satisfaction and safety protocols (such as the use of restraints and number of patient falls). Statistics are also used to determine how many cases of particular diseases there are in the hospital, to estimate incidence and prevalence and number of deaths in the hospital. Each unit is thorough with evaluating outcomes by performing a pre-test, audit on the charts, and a post-test along with another audit.
Statistics Used
Descriptive statistics are used in the workplace to describe and share specific data to get information, but not draw any conclusions. According to Bennett, Briggs, and Triola (2009), "descriptive statistics deals with describing raw data in the form of graphics and sample statistics" (p. 7). Some examples of descriptive study currently in place in a variety of areas are emergency room wait times, the number of homeless veterans being cared for and numbers of readmissions in the hospital. Wait times for the emergency room are averaged through the computer system from the time the patient checks into the time the patient is seen. The information collected is the age and ethnicity of the individual, and the amount of time spent waiting for care. This information is used within the hospital in improve patient care and patient satisfaction. Homeless Veterans are an immensely vulnerable population in the local community. The data collected on these patients are their ethnicity, age, social status, completed education and involvement of local resources. This information is used to improve outreach programs in the community for the veteran population. Data is also collected on patients who have been readmitted to the hospital within 30 days of last discharge from any facility. The patient’s age, ethnicity, if they have insurance or not, the reason for previous admittance, length of stay and current reason for admittance is all collected. This information is collected to help the hospital narrow down areas where patients are being discharged and otherwise shouldn’t be, or should be with more education. Inferential statistics takes a hypothesis and tests it based on a sample (“My Market Research Methods”, 2011). According to Bennett, Briggs, and Triola (2009), "inferential statistics deals with inferring (or estimating) population parameters from sample data (p. 7). An inferential study that is done within the unit is a monthly audit on handwashing. This study is conducted by the same individual each month which leads it to being an inferential study since it can be more biased. The same individual usually works on the same shift with the same people, therefore, month after month the observations are usually done by the same employees, on the same unit. This unit sample is supposed to represent the entire floor, but since it is not a random sample it does not give a great representation of the results.
Data Collection Data that leans more towards patient care should be collected and used to improve care in the workplace. The amount of time it takes to respond to a call bell would be one area that should be observed. At the current work place, during a night shift call bells do not get answered as quickly as they should. Data collection could be improved by doing more hands-on approaches rather than taking all data from the computer system. The computer system is information that is entered by the staff, and this information is not always entered correctly. Therefore, that provides false information in the data samples that are taken from the computer. Those who work on collecting data should change floors and times when doing their observations, this would make the data collecting less bias. There are four levels of measurement, nominal, ordinal, interval and ratio level of measurement. The nominal level of measurement focuses on collecting subjective information Bennett, Briggs, & Triola, 2009, p. 54). The nominal level of measurement is used in the work place with patient satisfaction surveys. These surveys are given in a multiple choice fashion with the answers being 1, 2, 3, or 4. Ordinal level of measurement gives information in a ranking system (Bennett, Briggs, & Triola, 2009, p. 56). In the workplace, the ordinal level of measurement is used every day with assessment and the pain scale. The patient ranks their pain level on a scale of 0 (none) to 10 (the worst pain they’ve felt). Interval level of measurement provides a measurement of data that has equal intervals (Bennett, Briggs, & Triola, 2009, p. 56). Interval level measurement is also used with assessment data collected from patient’s height and weight. This information can not contain an absolute zero. Lastly, ratio level measurement is similar to all the levels of measurements but it can contain an absolute zero (Bennett, Briggs, & Triola, 2009, p. 56). Ratio level measurement is also utilized in the work place when collecting assessment data. Questions such as the number of children you have, the years of work experience you have, or years of completed school that you have can all have an answer of zero.
Conclusion
Statistics are used every day in nursing, weather you are the one gathering the data and entering it into the system or you are the one collecting the data to utilize it in some manner. Statistical data helps facilities meet needs, like the data collected on homeless veterans which is used to tailor to and improve programs for those individuals in the community. Data collection and statistics are also used to improve patient care and safety, as well as improve the work field for employees. The four levels of measurement are used every day when collecting information during assessments, and the information is used in many different areas to improve care.

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