Hello. I am a graduate student enrolled in an MSN-FNP program. I'm having to come up with literature review ideas for a research class. The literature review for my research class will hopefully become a part of my scholarly project, so the topic needs to be something I'm interested in and can be researched. I'm really having a hard time coming up with problems though. Can someone please give me a few ideas?? My interests are in integrative medicine, complementary treatments, vitamin D (for prevention of breast CA, stimulation of immune system). I desperately need some help. Thank you.
May 4, '10
What about something like "acupuncture versus narcotics used for pain control in individuals with chronic back pain"? Good luck!
May 5, '10
How to consistently elicit from patients a list of the "alternative" treatments they're using, especially the ones that can mess up the treatments we want them to do.
May 5, '10
Tai Chi as an intervention to improve balance and/or reduce falls in the elderly.
May 5, '10
Instead of picking a topic and then hoping to find literature on it ... Maybe you should search for a topic from the other direction.
Browse the literature on the general topics of interest to you. Assess the "state of the science" in those areas. Ask yourself, "What do we know and what do we still not know?" Assess which topics have been well-researched and which ones have not. Etc.
As you do that, you will be exploring possible foundations for a project of your own. Gradually hone in on a specific topic which emerges from your browsing as one for which there is some literature to use as a foundation, but for which there are still un-answered questions.
An alternative: I often find myself attracted to topics about which little has been written. That's OK. Your project then becomes one that does the introductory work on the topic. Your lit review is smaller, summarizing your search efforts and the lack of results -- and the description of what you find that is peripherally related.
It's a matter of whether you want to build on work done by others, test theories, etc. ... or whether you want to be on of the first researchers to tackle a topic -- maybe with a descriptive study rather than an intervention project.
May 5, '10
Thank you, that seems logical. Do you recommend a search with EBSCO using keywords such as nursing + CAM or nursing + integrative as a start?
May 5, '10
...why not just try one and see what you get? If it doesn't turn up much, it isn't hard to switch keywords
May 5, '10
I would start broadly and just see what you get. Browse a little to get a feel for the "lay of the land" ... and then start narrowing it down based on what you find is out there. Have a little fun with it. In the olden days, we used to actually go to the library and just browse the shelves. Pick up volumes of journals and just skim to see what was in those big books. Begin by doing the equivalent online version of that type of browsing.
EBSCO should be a good data base to use.
Good luck! Let us know how it goes.
May 5, '10
Think about the population you want to serve as an FNP and why you chose the FNP track over, say, adult health, mental health, or gerontology. I'm going to hazard a guess here that you were drawn to the FNP track because of an interest in families in all stages of the lifespan but that you have a particular interest in the childbearing and childrearing years.
Do a little bit of soul-searching and reflecting if a research question doesn't come to you. What things have you experienced in your career so far that make you think they could have been handled differently? I see that you have ER experience. You've probably seen families come in and be totally stressed out over worries about a child who is injured or ill. What are the sources of their stress? How could their stress be alleviated? What do you think you, as an FNP, could do to help alleviate their stress? Could some sort of complementary therapy such as armomatherapy or music be helpful?
If you still aren't finding anything, you might want to just peruse some of the current literature so see if anything in particular interests you. Look at the latest issues of some of the peer-reviewed journals specific for advanced practice nursing. What are some of the trends in research? Where is nursing knowledge headed in your particular area of interest? Do any of the topics appeal to you more than others? I know a student who was so excited by what she read in one article that it inspired her to look for more research on that topic and the articles she found are becoming the foundation for her project.
It also helps to brainstorm with your peers, just as you are doing! I hope you are able to find something that suits your interests but do keep in mind that if you find something for your lit review but it doesn't really float your boat, it is okay to change your mind along the way. You may also find that your original clinical question changes over time---that it narrows or broadens or takes a different form than you had anticipated. For example, you might decide you want to look at the effects of calming music on unruly kids and stressed out moms in the ER but you end up deciding that you want to look at how the stress of the ER environment can be a barrier for patient and parent teaching. And that's okay! Yeah, it saves a lot of time when you already have a topic in mind and don't deviate from that, but realizing that you can change your mind should take off some of the pressure to find the "perfect" topic.
Hope this helps!
May 10, '11
Are you aware that Sigma Theta Tau, the honor society of nursing, provides its members with a highly discounted access to a great, time-saving literature update tool call My InfoSearch
? It pushes weekly updates of Medline to you in just your personal topical areas of interest, and allows you to narrow and expand your search over the last three years' of citations in Medline. If you're not a member of STTI, you can still access the same service (called MedInfoNow) at www.medinfonow.com
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