Skip to content

Posts tagged ‘John R. Blakeman’

Words Matter: Sex and Gender

The current featured article in ANS is titled “Words Matter: Sex and Gender as Unique Variables in Research” authored by John R. Blakeman, MSN, RN, PCCN-K, who completed his PhD degree earlier this year! Download this article at no cost while it is featured – it is accredited for Continuing Education and you can access the CE test on the ANS website to receive credit! Here is a message from Dr. Blakeman about this work:

The impetus for this paper can be traced back to a conversation I had with several of my friends about two and a half years ago, when I was still a PhD student.  We were all sitting around a campfire and discussing a wide array of topics.  At one point during the conversation, a friend of mine noted that she was excited to be attending a “gender reveal party” for one of her friends the following weekend.  At that point, another friend asked, “I wonder why they call them ‘gender’ reveal parties and not ‘sex’ reveal parties, since we find out the baby’s sex and not their gender?”  And that is when the conversation became very interesting  What followed was confusion and division among the group.  

Some of us had a solid understanding of the differences between sex and gender – the idea that biologic sex is really about the 23rd chromosome’s configuration and that gender is socially constructed and variable from society to society.  However, others viewed and used the terms sex and gender interchangeably.  We debated the necessity of these two terms and the importance of distinguishing them.  A few of my friends even admitted that they preferred to use the term gender because it seemed less offensive than the word sex.

Of course, this discussion with my friends led me to develop this paper.  After I left the celebration that night, I began to think about the nursing literature.  How do nurses use the terms sex and gender?  Do we use these terms correctly?  Do we even give these two terms a second thought when designing a study?  As I read several journal articles, I realized that many authors had used the terms sex and gender synonymously and that there was not great clarity in the nursing literature.  As a result, I decided to write a paper that would specifically highlight this issue.

Indeed, measuring and operationalizing sex and gender can present a number of challenges as noted in the manuscript.  There are sometimes more questions than answers, and I certainly do not purport to have all of the answers.  However, I hope that this paper stimulates thought and critical reflection among nurse scientists.  This paper is meant to serve as an initial stimulus for discussion and action.  I hope that we, as nurse scientists, can continue to refine our thinking on this issue and do our best to incorporate these two variables precisely in the research and theoretical work that we conduct. 


A Concept Analysis of Prodromal Myocardial Infarction Fatigue

Currently our featured ANS article is titled “Prodromal Myocardial Infarction Fatigue: A Concept Analysis” by John R. Blakeman, MSN, RN, PCCN-K.  Please download the article at no cost while it is featured, and return here to share your comments and feedback!  Here is John’s message about his work, including a presentation that he prepared featuring this work:

Symptom research is complicated. Because symptoms are, at their core, a human experience, each individual may perceive, attribute, and react to them in different ways. Because of the unique context in which they occur, symptoms cannot reliably be reduced to single, simple, objective pieces of data. Prodromal myocardial infarction (MI) fatigue is no different.

About six years ago, I began my adventure into the world of MI symptoms, especially MI symptoms experienced by women. I had heard about symptom differences between men and women, but, up to that point, I had not closely examined these symptoms in any comprehensive, systematic way. As I dove into the literature, one of the major themes that I identified was that fatigue was a particularly prevalent symptom experienced by women before an MI. However, fatigue was conceptualized in a variety of ways.

Symptom research is a messy business, partly because this research necessarily involves a considerable amount of self-report data. It is not uncommon to see multiple different descriptions of a given symptom. In the case of prodromal MI fatigue, I read a number of descriptions. Some research participants across studies had described this fatigue as “tiredness,” while others might have opted for the term “weakness.” Still others simply used the term “fatigue.” Study participants also provided an array of descriptions regarding the severity and intensity of this symptom. I recognized that this central, latent construct of prodromal MI fatigue was really made up of a number of other constructs, and I wanted to comprehensively review the literature to identify what exactly this latent construct of prodromal MI fatigue “looked like.” Out of this desire came the present concept analysis.

I learned that there was not a simple, neat definition that could be created, though I was able to identify several general commonalities across the many documents that I reviewed. I also recognized the need to further investigate prodromal MI fatigue, and I am now completing a qualitative study focused on women’s experiences of prodromal MI fatigue. This concept analysis helped frame my understanding of the symptom and guided me as I designed my study. Is there more work to do? Absolutely. I expect, and would hope, that this concept will be further refined and that researchers will be able to use this increased knowledge to improve care and patient outcomes. Indeed, if prodromal MI fatigue can be recognized early, morbidity and mortality can likely be reduced due to early intervention, prior to MI.


%d bloggers like this: