Nursing Intervention

Nursing intervention research is necessary in order for a nurse to build upon their nursing practice. According to the Western Journal of Nursing Research (2005), “Interventions developed specifically for people experiencing significant health problems are essential.” Nursing intervention requires that a nurse do their research on their patient’s health deterrents. Health promotion is a vital part of a nurse’s role. In order to promote a patient’s health, a nurse must research ways to aid in changing negative habits. For example, a patient who is asthmatic and smokes; in such a case, a nurse is required to research information about smoking cessation in order to aid the patient in quitting to avoid causing further damage to their health. When a nurse is making an intervention, he or she must verify the information collected with a colleague in order to provide the best care for their patients (Western Journal of Nursing Research, 2005). Intervention can also be a key component when addressing behavioral difficulties. In the scenario that a patient has a case of dementia, a nurse must compile information of dementia and use that information in order to provide the essential care that is needed (Allen-Burge, Stevens & Burgio, 1999). Intervention research begins when a nurse is assigned their patient. This is when the nurse must learn of the patient, whether it is done on a personal basis or from the patient’s medical history. If the patient has a habit that is seriously affecting their health, a nurse must intervene. He or she must provide reasons for changing the habit and also provide information of how it may cause further damage to the patient’s health. Along with this information, the nurse must also provide well looked into alternatives that are better for the patient’s health. As in all research, nursing intervention research has two main branches. One is qualitative and the other, quantitative (Polit & Beck, 2003).


According to Knapp’s book, Quantitative Nursing Research, quantitative research is one method of nursing research that helps scientists to resolve the issues of nursing. Knapp (1998) writes:

"Quantitative nursing research is the research that uses quantitative methods to advance the science of nursing by studying phenomena that are relevant to the goals of the discipline. Nursing phenomena are those facts, observations, and experiences that are the substance of nursing practice and are matters of concern when it comes to issues of health promotion and maintenance, health restoration, and the health care system."

Quantitative research includes some specific steps (Fig. 2-1). To read and critique one quantitative study, people need to understand these steps (Burns & Grove, 2003, p.36). A quantitative study of the “effect of warm and cold applications on the resolution of intravenous (IV) infiltrations” (Hastings-Tolsma, Yucha, Tompkins, Robson, and Szeverenyi, 1993) is a good example for understanding the steps. The research problem of this study was that many people received IVs and few knew about how to treat IV infiltrations effectively, and the purpose was to determine the effect of warm versus cold applications on the pain intensity and the speed of resolution (Hastings-Tolsma et al., 1993). The literature review included relevant and current sources. A study framework is the theoretical basis that enables the researcher to link the findings to nursing knowledge. In this case, the authors did not identify it. “What is the difference in tissue response as measured by pain between warm and cold applications?” could be the research question (Hastings-Tolsma et al., 1993). The other steps are similar to these. People can understand how quantitative research works by following the steps indicated in Figure 2-1.
Quantitative research requires researcher expertise, involves rigor in implementation, and generates scientific knowledge for nursing practice. It is different then qualitative research. Quantitative research is concise, objective and reductionistic, focused on knowing logistic and deductive Cause-and-Effect relationships, and tests theories (Burns & Grove, 2003, p.18).

Burns & Grove, 2003, p.36


Qualitative research is a “form of social inquiry that focuses on the way people interpret and make sense of their experiences and the world in which they live” (Holloway & Wheeler, 2002, p.3). It is a form of research that is centered around people and the perspectives that they hold regarding their personal experiences and their social environments (Holloway & Wheeler, 2002, pg.5). A lot of qualitative research focuses on the culture and traditions that people hold, and why they are so committed to their specific ways of life (Holloway & Wheeler, 2002, pg. 3). This type of research is essential to nursing because it helps to interpret the experiences that patients have and how nurses can become informed about the personal experiences of patients and also enable them to develop thereapeutic relationships with their subjects (Thorne et al, 1996) When using the method of qualitative research, the information that nurses seek to find out about their patients is discovered through asking a series of questions and interviewing the patient (Thorne et al, 1996). These questions help formulate important information about the patient such as their well-being, illness, experiences, and the determinants of their health.

When nurses are able to gather such information from patients they are able to compile it and use it for research purposes, such as for ethnography, ethical inquiry, or to come up with nursing theories (Thorne et al, 1996). In order to get the patient to deliver such personal information, trust and authenticity are very important traits for the researcher to have (Holloway & Wheeler, 2002, pg. 16), and its important to develop a therapeutic relationship. As a result of such research techniques, through utilizing qualitative research, the field of nursing is able to gain insight into the experience and interpretations of people in an especially intimate way.


Allen-Burge, R., Stevens, A.B. & Burgio, L.D. (1999). International Journal of Geriatric
Psychiatry. 14(3) 213-228. Retrieved from:

Burns, N. and Grove, S.K. (2003). Understanding nursing research. Retrieved from:

Hastings-Tolsma, M.T., Yucha, C.B., Tompkins, J., Robson, L., and Szeverenyi, N. (1993).
Effect of warm and cold applications on the resolution of IV infiltrations. Research in
Nursing & Health, 16(3), 171-178. doi: 10.1002/nur.4770160304

Holloway I., & Wheeler, S. (2002). Qualitative Research in Nursing. Oxford, UK: Blackwell Science Ltd.

Knapp, T. R. (1998). Quantitative Nursing Research. Retrieved from:

Polit, D.F. & Beck, C.T. (2003). Key Concepts and Terms in Qualitative and Quantitative
Research. Nursing research: principles and research. Retrieved from:

Thorne, S., Kirkham, S., & MacDonald-Emes, J. Interpretive Description: A Non-Categorical Qualitative Alternative
For Developing Nursing Knowledge. Research in Nursing and Health, (20) 2, 169-177.
Retrieved from:

Western Journal of Nursing Research (2005). Nursing Intervention Research. 27(3) 249-251 doi:

National Educational Video Incorporated. (2009),