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Data Collection

Data collection methods vary greatly depending on the research question and the type of participants, regardless of chosen methodology, data collection must be rigorously executed to produce high-quality data. Similarly, instruments to collect data must provide accurate, concise, and provide quantifiable data from which clinical meaning can be extrapolated and subsequently applied to effect improvements in practice. In this case, research aims to assess patient satisfaction, from the patient’s perspective. Polit & Beck (2017), report that structured self-report instruments are widely used by nurse researchers, and are typically formatted as either questionnaires or interviews. Surveys provide several advantages. In comparison to interviews, they are cost-effective, maintain the anonymity of respondents, mitigate interviewer bias, and can be easily administered using computer technology. Disadvantages to surveys include low response rates; typically around 50%, exclusion of certain populations such as the elderly and children, questions may lack depth, or be ambiguous or confusing causing respondents to skip them altogether (Polit & Beck, 2017)

Survey Instrument

Low response rate remains a primary barrier in survey administration and efficacy. However, when surveys are personally distributed in a particular setting, in this case, the primary care clinic, response rates are significantly higher. Moreover, the personal nature of a survey tool being directly distributed to respondents has a positive effect on participants (Polit & Beck, 2017). Keough and Tanabe (2011) contend that although the data collected through surveys is not as scientific as data obtained through experimentation, it is nonetheless important and informs nursing practice. Because the clinic is interested specifically interested in understanding the patients’ point of view, I assert that a self-report survey tool should be designed using a Likert-type rating scale. The range of responses available to the participants provides greater insight compared to a simple closed-ended question. Moreover, rating scales are easy to complete and are also efficient. However, because people may misunderstand the concept of the Likert Scale, instructions and statements should be clear and concise (Polit & Beck, 2017).

Sampling Methodology and Participant Selection

I would employ a consecutive sampling methodology; this includes recruiting all accessible and eligible participants over a pre-determined time-period (Polit & Beck, 2017). There is no specific formula for sample size. Martínez-Mesa, Bastos, Bonamigo, and Duquia (2014) assert that sample size can be thought of in tiers. The largest tier represents the entire population; in this case, 10,000 patients. The target population is the portion of the total population who are of interest to the study. In this case, we would exclude very small children or patients who are cognitively impaired. Finally, the study population includes those who will be included in the research (Martínez-Mesa, Bastos, Bonamigo, & Duquia, 2014).

To optimize response rates, and to increase validity and reliability, the survey will be administered in quarterly increments over a year. Therefore, the target population will be all 10,000 patients. Of the target population, it would be reasonable to assume that some patients will not want to fill out the questionnaire and that others will be excluded. The study population will aim to include 7,500 patients. All eligible participants will be asked to fill out a paper and pencil, self-administered, survey when they check into the clinic for an appointment. This will allow adequate time for participants to complete the survey before seeing their provider. Results will be calculated every quarter and once at the end of the year for comparison. This schedule will facilitate detection of variations in patient satisfaction throughout the year, and help to identify specific variables such as inadequate staffing that contributed to the results.

Survey Questions

Participants will be asked to rate declarative statements using will be using the Likert rating scale. A bipolar continuum will assess varying degrees of satisfaction to the statements regarding patient satisfaction. The participants will be asked to rate the following items:

1.) 1. Convenience of office hours:

o Excellent

o Very Good

o Good

o Fair

o Poor

2.) 2. Ease of making an appointment:

o Excellent

o Very Good

o Good

o Fair

o Poor

3.) 3. Promptness in seeing your provider:

o Excellent

o Very Good

o Good

o Fair

o Poor

4.) 4. Friendliness of staff:

o Excellent

o Very Good

o Good

o Fair

o Poor

5.) 5. Clarity of medical instructions provided:

o Excellent

o Very Good

o Good

o Fair

o Poor

6.) 6. Overall comfort of the office:

o Excellent

o Very Good

o Good

o Fair

o Poor

7.) 7. Help provided understanding insurance coverage:

o Excellent

o Very Good

o Good

o Fair

o Poor

8.) 8. Answers provided to address questions:

Excellent
Very Good
Good
Fair
Poor

9. My overall satisfaction is:

Excellent
Very Good
Good
Fair
Poor

10. Likeliness to recommend the clinic to others:

Excellent
Very Good
Good
Fair
Poor

The statements are brief, clear, and each statement identifies just one issue. The rating scale is reflective of satisfaction rather than agreement or importance.

Reliability and Validity

With regard to validity, it is important to consider the content of the survey. Items should be relevant, comprehensive, and balanced (Polit & Beck, 2017). I believe the statements chosen address the components of content validity. Internal validity of the survey tool is enhanced through content validity and further enhanced by the anonymous nature of the self-administered survey tool provided by office personnel. The external validity is strengthened by the size of the study population, and the quarterly implementation which provides data for comparison. The quarterly administration schedule will also provide statistical validity.

Reliability concerns consistency over time (Polit & Beck, 2017). This can be challenging when measuring patient satisfaction. Patients may be more or less satisfied from day to day. Test reliability occurs with the “administration of the same measure to the same people on two occasions” (Polit & Beck, p. 303, 2017). Internal consistency occurs when the same person provides the same results (Polit & Beck, 2017). Because participants will visit the clinic multiple times during the year, they will fill out the survey more than once, thereby strengthening test reliability and internal consistency. If a sample is homogenous, reliability is decreased (Polit & Beck, 2017). This survey will be administered to a diverse group, increasing reliability. Because patient satisfaction is an essential quality metric, its importance should not be underestimated. The utilization of a self-administered survey tool on a rolling quarterly basis is cost-effective and reliable.

References

Keough, V., & Tanabe, P. (2011). Survey research: An effective design for conducting nursing Research. Journal of Nursing Regulation,1(4), 37-44. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu/bbcswebdav/institution/USW1/201950_27/MS_NURS/NURS_5052/readings/USW1_NURS_5052_Keough 2011.pdf.

Martínez-Mesa, J., González-Chica, D. A., Bastos, J. L., Bonamigo, R. R., & Duquia, R. P. (2014). Sample size: how many participants do I need in my research?. Anais brasileiros de dermatologia, 89(4), 609–615. doi:10.1590/abd1806-4841.20143705

Polit, D. F., & Beck, C. T. (2017). Nursing research generating and assessing evidence for nursing practice. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer.

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