A few weeks back I mentioned nurse practitioners. These are nurses who have gone on to get a Master's Degree so they can work alongside or independently of physicians as higher-level providers of medical care. Nothing wrong with nurses wanting to get more education and advance their career, of course, and more power to them for doing so. What I didn't realize, however, is that much of the class time in spent in nursing research. This strikes me as kind of a fluffy topic (no traditional nursing-based pillow tasks pun intended), because I can't figure out what nursing research is. If we're trying to figure out what clinically works for patients in the real world, we're dealing with the same issues, and the same set of facts, whether the research is done by doctors or nurses. That’s why it’s called clinical research. It’s not doctor research. So I don't quite get what nursing research is if it's not research into clinical care. And if it's not, then that means it's not fact-based, and risks getting lost in rubrics of good feeling and a cornucopia of psychobabble. This is not really a criticism; it's the nature of the beast when you try to quantify that which is inherently subjective. It's a problem when subjectivity becomes confused with fact, and extrapolations are made on unfounded assumptions. You know, like pain scales and patient satisfaction measures.
(For the record, research that is fact-based does not mean that it's useful or even worthwhile finding out. It's like those studies that appear from time to time as a Waste of Government Dollars, like the one in England a few years back that showed that the girls really do get prettier at closing time. Mickey Gilley knew that years ago, as did his cousins Jerry Lee Lewis and Jimmy Swaggert. As well as anyone who went home at two with a ten and woke up at ten with a two. Not sexist; it works both ways.)
It seemed to me as we talked that we could make this problem a lot easier if we focused on money and idiocy as driving forces for healthy behaviors. And we could do so in a diagram: