Proposal for aqualitative study examining the wellbeing of NHS mental health staff: Why ismorale low? IntroductionThe aims of the study will be to work out the reasoning for why well-beingamong nhs mental health staff has declined. A qualitative research study willbe conducted using semi-structured interviews. This research is highly relevantand necessary due to the budget cuts the NHS are currently facing in society,especially with a rise in mental health.
This research will be interesting asdue to the style of interview it will be possible to gain in-depth knowledge ofhow participants are feeling within the workplace. This is useful andinteresting as it is highly possible that if the wellbeing of the staff can beimproved then the quality of work being completed will rise and this can impactpatients at the hospital positively. Overall the research will create asnowball effect if the problem is solved once it is identified.
The study isgood value for money as solving the cause of low wellbeing among staff willsave further costs to the system in the future. The importance of positivewellbeing in the workplace is also highlighted in Graham and Shiers (2010)research. The idea that by addressing issues you will in turn be improving theworkplace. Grawitch,Gottschalk & Munz (2006) also confirm the idea of theimportance of wellbeing in the workplace with their study. They conclude thatthere are direct links between “healthy workplace practices and organizationalimprovements are proposed.” A qualitative study conducted by Music (2017)clearly established “the need for more compassionate and emotionally securesettings for patients and mental health providers of the National HealthService (NHS).” Whilst this is similar to the study being offered at this time,it is clear more research is needed now as the study so closely linked to theone mentioned was incredibly recent. Having more studies within this area willback up the validity of the work and ensure future changes within the workplaceis made.
An interesting perspective was discussed in Raffay, Wood and Todd’squalitative research (2016). The idea of spirituality being a positiveinfluence on the wellbeing of NHS mental health services and therefore creatinga more positive wellbeing in the workplace. Laschinger, Leiter, Day & Gilin(2009) studied nurses perceptions. The study concludedthat “perceptions of empowerment, supervisor incivility, and cynicism werestrongly related to job satisfaction, organizational commitment, and turnoverintentions.” The suggested changes in the workplace are that managerialstrategies are used to empower nurses may be helpful in preventing workplaceburnout and low wellbeing.The initial question being looked at for thisresearch is: How do the nurses perceive their relationships withtheir employers? There will also be some secondary questions that are worthanswering in this research such as: What provisions do employers provide thestaff when they are feeling vulnerable? What support is offered to staff? Howoften are staff at work during the week? A qualitativemethodology is appropriate here as the aim of the research is to find outin-depth information about the feelings of the participants.
METHODDesign A qualitative research design will be used to conduct this study. This designhas been chosen due to its use in the collection of more detail rich data.Qualitative designs are comparatively more flexible than their Quantitativecounterparts, as the research focus can be more readily altered and revised toensure that research conducted continues to focus more on the responsescollected from participants and building a greater research base, rather thanproving previously existing theories (Patton, 1990).
One particular benefit ofusing qualitative data in research is that the researchers are able to gaingreater insight into the interpretations that participants hold of theirworkplaces, and the attitudes they have surrounding this environment.Participants The study will include a sample of 10 male and 10female participants from the target population of NHS Mental Health Nurses (?).Participants will be between the ages of 18 and 50. The more variety in ages inthe sample, the richer variation in opinion, and also provide and age rangecomparison on the possible impact of age on staff members well-being. Thegender variable will also be included in analysis, to test and control for anypotential gender influences in responses, similar to that of age impact.Inclusion criteria will include a “work experience” requirement of at least 2years as part of the department. This is again to increase the variation ofexperiences between staff members, including any potential changes to thedepartment (budget cuts, well-being initiatives etc.
), as well as offer anotherpotential comparison point – how long participants have spent in that job, andhow this time period may influence well-being. Methodological theoryIn order to analyse the data, thematic analysis will be used, taking aninductive approach. Braun and Clarke (2006) describe thematic analysis as “amethod for identifying, analysing and reporting patterns (themes) within data”. This method of analysis is flexible in its theoretical application, allowingresearchers a choice in epistemological position- comparatively different toany other qualitative method, which are, by large attached to a particulartheoretical position (Braun & Clarke, 2006). This research will take a”contextualist” approach to the method.
This places the analysis between twocamps. Constructionism – Identifying themes and analysing them by the potentialsocial implication relating to the topic being investigated; and Essentialism-Reporting the themes by participant experience, and the meanings that theyascribe to them through their reality. Contextualism utilises the best of bothworlds, both investigating the ways in which people make sense of theirexperiences through the application of “meaning”, as well as how broader socialcontexts and issues way against these meanings, and how this influence may warpan individuals interpretation of themselves and their experiences (Braun , 2006). This is particularly apropos in the analysis of this data, asthe topic of investigation centres around investigating the well-being of NHSstaff, with an understanding of the potential contributions towards wellnessdecline via social matters, such as budget cuts.
Method of data collection Semi-structured interviews will be employed in datacollection for this study. This will allow the researcher to guide theinterview in particular directions, but will also present the opportunity forthe participant to speak more freely, allowing for a more organic flow ofconversation – whilst still maintaining the structure required to makeeffective use of the time to ask the relevant questions. The lack of rigidityin question patterns also reduce inhibition of participant responses (Cohen& Crabtree, 2006). Some examples of questions that will be asked are asfollows: What are your approximate hours a week spent working per week? To probe: What are your typical shift hours? What kind of support do you receive in the workplace if you need it? Do you have a good relationship with your higher ups? To probe: Are you and those higher up on talking terms or on more of a first name a basis? What would a typical conversation with your higher ups be like? Can you give me a recent example? PROCEDURE The semi-structured interviews will be conducted inprivate rooms within participants workplace. Participants will be presentedwith a consent form including a brief outline of the study, to ensure informedconsent, but also reduce the chance of answer bias. Interviews with participants will be audio recorded, and participants will beinformed of this during the initial briefing, prior to agreeing to take part inthe research. The recordings will be transcribed verbatim after the interviewprocess, so that the thematic analytical process is made easier.
They will alsohave the option to withdraw from the study at any time, through the use of a”participant code” provided to them on their consent form. This can be used bythe researcher to dispose of their data upon being notified of a participantsdesire to withdraw. Outside of this, all data will be disposed of within 6months of conclusion of the research. The approximate length of the interviewwill be one hour. This however, varies from participant to participantdepending on how detailed their answers are. The debrief will also contain anyinformation they may need about seeking counselling and support services ifthey are made to feel distressed during the interview process. The interviewschedule will be used to direct the conversation in a fixed order with probingquestions that may help the participant give more detailed answers (Crowley,2010, p, 239).
Ethical considerations The research process will adhere strictly to BPS Ethical Guidelines (BPS Code of Human Research Ethics 2nd edition, 2014), and participants will be required to provide theirinformed consent in writing prior to the commencement of the research (detailedabove). Participants will be made fully aware of their freedom to refuse toanswer questions, and their right to withdraw from the research at any time -in this instance, any already collected data, personal or research based, willbe destroyed (detailed above). No personal information including names andcontact information will be shared included in publication or in anyway madeknown outside of the researcher themselves (participants will be provided witha code by which they will be known in paper work for the duration of theresearch), thus protecting the anonymity and confidentiality if participants.All data collected will be stored electronically on a password protectedcomputer, and will be destroyed within 6 months of the studies completion.Participants will be provided with contact information for counselling and supportservices during the full debrief at the end of the study. Analytic strategy The thematic analysis will be aimed at finding thesimilarities and differences in the common themes through the data.
Thesethemes do not have to be the most prevalently discussed, they just have toaccurately represent the data in relation to the research. The thematicanalysis will be conducted according to the six phases proposed in the paper byBraun and Clarke (2006). These are: familiarising yourself with the data; producing codes whichhighlight the most meaningful information; sorting such codes into themes;refining the themes; defining and naming the themes; and the final productionof the thematic analysis. Reflexivity Like mentioned in the introduction this research,Music’s research (2017) and further research being done will ensure validity inwhat is being concluded.
It could be learnt that there are reasons different tothe previous research discussed about regarding the wellbeing of participants.