Re: How do I improve my practice
of training midwives and nurses in the use of Q-Pulse?
we share a valuing of living theory, I am reading and reviewing your article
from quite a different context and perspective otherwise. I am an independent
educational psychologist, retired teacher (secondary school and university), and
active teacher-researcher, living in Canada. Currently, I mentor secondary and
university level teachers in their professional development within a framework
of action research, living theory, and narrative inquiry. I found living theory
during my doctoral studies when I experienced myself as a living contradiction,
claiming to love and value my students above all else, and discovering, on
careful scrutiny of evidence gathered over many years of teaching, that I had
put my students at risk when they left my self-contained special education
classroom for mainstream education.
will begin this review by saying that I am enjoying reading and rereading your
article very much. I sense your dedication to the profession and to the action
research process. I believe that practitioners in the service of the public
have a great deal of knowledge to offer to theorists and policy makers, and
your report is evidence of that. I am grateful for this opportunity, and hope
you find my comments useful and supportive.
Next, I will offer comments on context.. Finally, I will comment on the
action research process as you have reported it.
Contextualizing the Research
began to read your article from a distance – I am neither a nurse, midwife, manager,
nor have I any idea of what is means to be a health-care worker in a
woman/infant facility in Ireland. An internet search explained Q-Pulse to me,
and introduced me to the history of The Coombe, giving me a picture, and some
feeling of connection. I imagine that, like teaching, the work in your hospital
can be ill-defined, messy, tiring, yet very rewarding. I know that when faced
with school reforms, particularly in the area of technology, there was
reticence approaching rebellion on the part of many teachers, the cry being, “It
takes more time than it saves!”
my search gave me a better idea of your context and practice, I feel that there
is more to your story to be told that may benefit both your report and the
reader. A more elaborate description of your (and your participants’)
experience and context would bring all of us out here into a bigger picture. Connelly
and Clandinin (1995) write “Humans are storytelling creatures who, individually
and socially, lead storied lives and tell stories of those lives.” We engage
with others, become participants in their stories, make meaning of experience,
and learn. So, I find myself, asking, “Who is Anne, beyond her title of
manager?” “Who are the participants (co-researchers?) in this endeavour?” “To
whom does Anne listen, and what does she hear?” Who are the people who have
earned her respect?” “In what, beyond this inquiry, do they participate?” I
wonder, too, “Is gender an issue?” Jack
Whitehead and Jean McNiff (2006) ask, as action researchers, “What experiences
can we describe to show why we are concerned?” and they answer with examples of
stories of learning from experience, stories with a generative transformational
is important to tell your story in a way that others might learn from your
experience (Whitehaed and McNiff, 2001). In the abstract, you have referenced
Jean McNiff’s (2010) action planner as guide for your action research, however
the source is not included in your list of references, therefore, I have used
the following points to guide my reading of your cycles and steps:
What is my concern?
Why am I concerned?
What kind of evidence
can I generate to show the situation as it is and as it unfolds?
What can I do about
How will I ensure that
any conclusions I come to are reasonably fair and justified?
How do I modify my
ideas and my practice in light of my evaluation? (Whitehead 1989; McNiff and
Whitehead 2006; Whitehead and McNiff 2006)
I recognise your research as
systematic, however, I do not see a clear
design to for your study. I wonder when,
how and why the managers were brought in as participants. A data
collection/analysis schedule might help the reader. An important
question for me here is “How will I ensure that
any conclusions I come to are reasonably fair and justified?” Your descriptive
statistics might be tabled with a breakdown across questions, and groups of
participants. The voices of those supporting your living standards of judgement
are clear and encouraging, and additional verbatim data chunks would further
support your claim. How was your validation group formed? What might others
have had to say? Their voices combined with yours would serve as a linguistic
description of embodied values, and put a human face on the work that you are
doing together. Other questions came to mind. Your values of openness
and a participatory approach, of respect and listening are claimed in your
report. Would you say this work is democratic? Are you doing research with the
managers, nurses and midwives, or on them, or for them?
I hear a strong commitment to solving a problem, a commitment to the learning
of nurses and midwives thus contributing to quality caregiving in your hospital,
and to a living theory approach. I have asked lots of questions (my nature) and
hope that these are of use to you.
Looking forward to the conversation,