Step 0: Cultivate a spirit of inquiry- choosing a topic: My group and I chose to do the topic of music therapy and burn patients. This was not our first chose, in fact choosing this was not easy. We all had many different ideas on what our topic should be, and it became very challenging to finalize our topic. Although coming to this decision was not easy, once we discovered the idea of music therapy the whole dynamic of the project changed. Our team came together in agreement that learning about this topic would help us become better nurses, while learning how non-pharmacological therapy can better our patients.
Step 1: Ask the burning clinical question in PICOT format: We came up with the following PICOT question: How does music therapy affect pain levels felt by burn patients during a dressing change? A challenge of coming up with this was the wording, and not making it biased. Bias questions is never our intentions, and we also did not research or find how music therapy affected patients with burns. Once we finalized our PICOT question, researching about the topic was ten times easier as it guided what we were looking for specifically.
Step 2: Search for and collect the most relevant evidence – finding articles: One challenge we learned from quickly was finding your topic before starting to research articles. Originally, we were all researching different articles without having picked a topic. This quickly became frustrating as we all found good articles, but on completely different topics. We then had a team intervention to come together, lock down, and chose our final topic. As soon as we finally decided on music therapy, researching our articles was much easier.
Step 3a: Critically appraise the evidence – Part I (rapid critical appraisal). The critical appraisal was very helpful for understanding if our articles supported the PICOT question, or if it was not a good scholarly article. This step, although sometimes time consuming, really helped compare “apples to oranges” as we were able to look at what our articles were about, and if it was helpful for our paper. Despite being time consuming, this helped finalize which articles we were going to use.
Step 3b: Critically appraise the evidence – Part II (evidence table & annotated bibliography). This was a very hard, but helpful step. I have honestly never done an evidence table, and have briefly done annotated bibs. Our group completely messed up the first time, and had the wrong idea with what to put into our tables. It wasn’t that we didn’t try, and didn’t watch the videos, it was because we had never done it before and were learning. This was a big challenge, but once we made a writing tutor appointment things became more clear. We now understand how to do an evidence table, and really why it’s important to do for a Influence paper.
Step 3c: Critically appraise the evidence – Part III (synthesis – writing the paper). Writing a paper that is only suppose to be four pages long is very challenging with three people. Honestly, this was one of our hardest parts of the project. We originally split up the paper into separate parts. Once reading it over, all of our writing styles and different languages showed… This made for a very interesting rough draft. Once receiving the edits, we were really down and frustrated, because it was hard to decide on what to change to make it better. After revising it, we sent it to another writing professor to get two sets of eyes. The main thing they changed was our grammar and writing tense. Having two professors read it over really helped guide us into what we should change to make it a better paper. Overall, after hours of revising the paper, I’m very proud and happy with how it came out, and the many challenges we overcame along the way.
Final Reflection: As anyone can see, my group and I over came many challenges throughout the process. During this time, we also learned a lot about how to research, organize your thoughts, and put everything together. I believe this paper taught me a lot about the importance of understanding how to research. Now that I understand the process, I can continue to research in my Nursing practice. Anywhere you go, whether a nursing home or hospital, there are many things and tasks that would be done better. This can relate to reduction of falls, decreasing pressure ulcers, distracting patients from pain and much more. Being able to identify a problem, and know how to research ways to make something better can truly benefit any nurse at their work. As a future nurse, I don’t want to show up to work and only get the “to do” list done. I want to better my patients care, improve their stay, and focus on not only their disease, but their mind body and soul. I want to make the whole person feel better, and by knowing how to help a problem, I can better the atmosphere of the hospital.