NURS 8310/ NURS 8310F/ NURS 8310M/ NURS 8310A/ NURS 8310C Week 3: Analytic Epidemiology Designs: Observational

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NURS 8310 Week 3 Analytic Epidemiology Designs Observational Essay Assignment

Consider for a moment the great strides made in treating breast cancer, or as noted last week, the change in life expectancy for patients with HIV/AIDS. These strides toward improving health outcomes are a result of research; research has helped health care professionals and others better understand disease and, therefore, offer more effective treatment.

In Week 2, you explored descriptive epidemiological studies, examining the distribution of disease in terms of person, place, and time. This week you will begin looking at analytic epidemiology designs that focus on the association between an exposure to a risk factor (e.g., radiation, cigarette smoke, poor diet) and the resulting health outcomes. You will examine observational studies in particular, and you will consider how and why this approach could be appropriate for a specific health problem and population. In addition, you will select a significant population health problem of interest to you in preparation for Major Assessment 7.

Learning Objectives

Students will:

  • Analyze observational study designs used in analytic epidemiology
  • Evaluate the application of observational studies for improving population health status
  • Characterize a significant population health problem

A clinical pediatric nurse has noticed a rise in childhood cancer diagnoses among the Hispanic population served by the local clinic. The nurse is concerned about this increase in cancer incidence in the patient population and turns to the literature to explore current research on this topic. The nurse finds through the reading that there appears to be an association between parental smoking and childhood cancer and wonders if this could be the cause of the rise in cases.

This type of suspected association between a risk factor (exposure) and a particular outcome (childhood cancer) can be evaluated using an observational study design. This week, you were introduced to observational study designs used in epidemiology. For this Discussion, you will identify an epidemiologic association of interest (e.g., smoking and lung cancer, obesity and heart disease, hormone replacement/modification therapy and breast cancer) and determine an appropriate observational study design for exploring that association.

To prepare:

  • Review the different types of observational study designs presented in the Learning Resources: ecologic, cross-sectional, case-control, and cohort.
  • Carefully examine the characteristics, strengths, and limitations of each design.
  • Consider an association between a risk factor and a particular health outcome that is of interest to you. Then, select the observational study design you think would be the most appropriate for exploring this association.
  • Consider how using observational study designs can lead to improvements in population health.

By Day 3

Post a cohesive response that addresses the following:

  • Identify the association between the risk factor and health outcome you selected, and suggest which observational study design you feel is most appropriate for examining that association.
  • Support your selection of the observational design, noting its strengths and limitations for addressing the health problem.
  • What might you be able to learn by using your selected study design that might lead to improvements in population health? Support your response with evidence from the literature.

Read a selection of your colleagues’ responses.

By Day 6

Respond to at least three of your colleagues in one or more of the following ways:

  • Suggest a different study design that would be appropriate for your colleague’s health problem.
  • Ask a probing question, substantiated with additional background information, evidence, or research.
  • Share an insight from having read your colleagues’ postings, synthesizing the information to provide new perspectives.
  • Offer and support an alternative perspective using readings from the classroom or from your own research in the Walden Library.
  • Validate an idea with your own experience and additional research.
  • Make a suggestion based on additional evidence drawn from readings or after synthesizing multiple postings.
  • Expand on your colleagues’ postings by providing additional insights or contrasting perspectives based on readings and evidence.

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