Descriptive statistics assist in describing and summarizing data obtained from a study sample and eventually aiding in making conclusions for decision-making (Korb, 2013).
The descriptive statistics that are reported in the article
The research analysis demonstrates the use of three types of descriptive statistics. First, survey results for 154 participants were presented in terms of frequencies to reflect the number of times variables occurred (Table 1) (Tudor, Berger, Polivka, Chlebowy, & Thomas, 2014). Second, the use of the mean also shows descriptive statistics. For instance, items obtained from FPR-BS and FPS-CS were added, and the mean rating was obtained for all the items of the scale to reflect the score ranges (results were presented in Table 2). Finally, the use of variance (standard deviation) also shows descriptive statistics. Comparisons between variables were determined using variance analysis and t test, which involved standard deviations (SD).
How a nurse leader can use descriptive statistics to justify a course of action
It is imperative for nurse leaders to understand how descriptive statistics can be interpreted and applied in decision-making. The application of descriptive statistics in nursing is a component of evidence-based practice (EBP) that has become synonymous with nursing education and practice (Stevens, 2013). A nurse leader can use descriptive statistics results to improve quality of care and transform healthcare practices. For instance, Tudor et al. (2014) used descriptive statistics to conclude that “nurses’ self-confidence and perceived benefit of family presence were significantly associated” (p. e88), and they further identified barriers to the family presence and demonstrated implications for nursing as changing the practice of family presence.
Descriptive statistics routinely used in practice
I routinely apply frequencies involving percentages to assess changes in inpatient admission and discharge rates. Moreover, I also apply percentages to determine adherence to core procedures for improving quality of care.
Korb, K. A. (2013). Conducting Educational Research: Calculating Descriptive Statistics. Web.
Stevens, K. R. (2013). The Impact of Evidence-Based Practice in Nursing and the Next Big Ideas. OJIN: The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, 18(2), Manuscript 4. Web.
Tudor, K., Berger, J., Polivka, B. J., Chlebowy, R., & Thomas, B. (2014). Nurses’ Perceptions of Family Presence during Resuscitation. American Journal of Critical Care, 23(6), e88-e96. Web.