Nurse Anxiety and Aromatherapy's Effects Critique

Pages: 7 (2133 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: Nursing  ·  Written: December 1, 2019


Data Collection and Measurement

The steps in collecting data were described clearly and concisely in the section entitled “Procedure for Data Collection.” Steps included a pre-test baseline measurement of anxiety and a post-test measurement using the STAI Y-1 instrument. The questionnaire was appropriate for the problem and method, and was a verified tool for the researchers to use, its validity reliability already established in prior research. It measured what it purported to measure and the instrument could be used in a similar sample and similar data obtained. The instrument’s validity is discussed specifically, but not its reliability: “Test-retest coefficients have been reported at 0.69-0.89, indicating strong evidence of construct and concurrent validity” (Donaldson et al., 2017, p. 204). The range of scores was described as “very similar for pre-test anxiety (20-61) and post-test anxiety (20- 59)” and scores were interpreted in terms of positively and negatively worded statements in the questionnaire (Donaldson et al., 2017, p. 204). A higher score meant more anxiety and a lower score meant no or little anxiety. Data were statistically analyzed using SPSS version 21.

Human Subjects

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In the Acknowledgements section of the article, the participants are thanked for “enthusiastically” being part of the study, implying that informed consent was obtained for the study (Donaldson et al., 2017, p. 201). However, there is no formal discussion of human subject review and approval in the report. A paragraph shows that the researchers did inform the subjects about the oils and possible health side effects to participants. The issue of anonymity was also discussed and the Comments in the questionnaire were to be kept anonymous and participants were told of this. The method for maintaining anonymity was also described: self-reported data was placed in a manila envelope without identification and sealed and left for the researchers to collect. Confidentiality was not discussed but was implied in the process.

Data Analysis

Critique on Nurse Anxiety and Aromatherapy's Effects Assignment

The choice of statistical procedures, the use of SPSS version 21 and the t-test and variance test conducted, were appropriate for the methodology proposed. T-test compares the averages of the test group and the control group, and the variance tells of the degree to which the data was spread out among participants. Using these methods of statistical analysis allowed the researchers to compare the results of the IV on the DV in the experimental group to the anxiety levels in the control group.


The characteristics of the sample are described (N=44) over a 2-week intervention time period, for both day and night shift nurses. The likes and dislikes of the nurses for the aromatherapy were also noted, with most reporting they liked and one complaining of headaches and nausea as a result of one of the oils being used.

Since there were no research questions posited, the findings did not supply any answers, but the findings did satisfy the purpose of the study. The results showed that there was no significant effect on anxiety from the IV. Though nurses liked it, for the most part, the anxiety test did not measure any significant reduction in anxiety as a result of the intervention. This also satisfied the purpose of the study. Generalizations were not made based on the sample; rather, the limitations of the sample size were stated and the researchers noted that more research would need to be conducted with a larger sample over a longer period of time with a more valid and reliable research design used for best results.


Limitations of the study were described as “use of a quasi-experimental design with a small convenience sample in a single hospital unit” and like the fact that the self-reported data led to underreporting, as not all participants completed the pre- and post-test questionnaires (Donaldson et al., 2017, p. 205). The researchers also pointed out that the timing of the test (during a break) instead of during stressful events may also have altered findings and made them less reliable overall.

The researchers do not discuss their findings in relation to previous findings with other researchers; they only note that previous research has indicated that there has been a lack of significant impact of aromatherapy on stress in the past. Overall, there were no unexpected or serendipitous findings as the focus was rather narrow. The researchers did note that the nurses who participated did overwhelmingly approve of aromatherapy and say they liked it, which could indicate the potential for a positive psychological affect not measured in the test instrument used by the researchers. As the instrument was used to measure anxiety levels, another instrument would likely be needed to measure positive attitude fluctuations, which could be analogous to the reduction of anxiety, just interpreted in a different way.


Generalizations were not made beyond the sample identified in the study as the researchers acknowledged that the sample was limited in terms of reliability by the sample method (convenience) and the sample population (one unit in a single hospital). Thus, the sample did not necessarily represent a diverse population of nurses, which makes the data’s generalizeability difficult to determine or to justify.

Recommendations were made by the researchers for future research, based on the findings as well as the information obtained by the researchers during their own literature review. The researchers stated that future research should focus on particular blends, use multiple measures of stress, monitor times of stress for nurses and evaluate them more closely in an experimental design.

The researchers also discussed the implications of the study’s findings on nursing practice. The scientists with whom the research findings were shared were intrigued by the data and “encouraged other hospital nurses to test aromatherapy exposure and compare changes in anxiety and stress scores” (Donaldson et al., 2017, p. 206). There were no suggestions for nursing practice outside of this made by the researchers based on the findings of the study.

Summary Assessment

The study was understandable from start to finish and the report was written in a manner that made the findings accessible to practicing nurses. There were no complex nor complicated ideas that went unexplained. The sentences were written in a simple style. The sections on data measurements would not be understood by nurses not trained or educated in reading statistical analyses. However, nurses with understanding of statistics would not have difficulty with this section.

The study does contribute meaningful evidence that can be used in nursing practice and that is useful to the nursing discipline by providing data from a small sample on the effects of aromatherapy on anxiety among practicing nurses. Though the findings are not necessarily reliable, they do bring up an intriguing option that should be investigated more fully with a better research design utilized. Thus, at the very least, the study is provocative.


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