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addition, although the subjects may sign the consent and partici-pate in the early phases of the study, a certain percentage will belost to attrition.
Some general rules about subject recruitment are as follows:(1) approximately 10% of the population will refuse; (2) approx-imately 10% will drop out; and (3) approximately 25% of avail-able subjects will participate.2 Just as a pilot study can help withtime management issues, it can also assist the researcher in pre-dicting a response rate and detecting unforeseen recruitmentproblems.
The following measures may improve subject recruitment.During the initial planning stages of the research, talking topersons who have conducted research with similar groups ofsubjects or who have direct contact with the target populationprovides information about what methods enhanced theirrecruitment. Advertisements in newspapers, newsletters, andchurch bulletins or paying the subjects for their participationmay need to be added to the research plan. The literaturereview is another source that can help to identify recruitmentfactors. Other researchers’ response rates can be used asguides.
Retrospective record reviews help determine the feasibility ofrecruiting at a site. The records can include charts, departmentlogs, appointment schedules, and surgery schedules. Estimates ofthe number of patients with the problem being investigated, as
well as estimates of how many would fit the inclusion and exclu-sion criteria should be determined. If the results of the reviewshow that there is a low number of persons with the problemunder investigation or most of the persons have an exclusion cri-teria, additional sites may be needed. Obviously, the more rigidthe inclusion and exclusion criteria are, the more difficult it willbe to enroll subjects. Also, notation of where the person residesis important for predicting follow-up compliance. Travel distancemay increase the cost of participation and be a factor in recruit-ment.
In closing, I have discussed only a few of the realities of man-aging a research study; there are many others. I have oftenthought that help wanted signs for researchers should read“Patient control freaks wanted.” Control what you can and asportrayed in the anecdote, expect the unexpected. Proactive plan-ning and establishing contingency plans can minimize the effectsof problems. And remember patience is a virtue.
1. Gennaro G, Vessey JA. Of street maps, play-doh and officespace. Nurs Res 1988;37:68.
2. Findley TW, Daum MC, Macedo JA. Research in physicalmedicine and rehabilitation VI. Research project manage-ment. Am J Phys Med Rehabil 1989;68:288-99.
Call for JVN Editorial Board Members
The Journal of Vascular Nursing is soliciting interested colleagues to apply for an EditorialBoard appointment. Editorial Board members are responsible for reviewing manuscripts forpublication in JVN and assisting the Editor as assigned.
Qualifications for appointment consideration include:
1. Registered professional nurse. Master’s degree in nursing preferred.2. Vascular nursing practice experience in areas of education, practice, administration, or
research sufficient to develop considerable expertise in the area.3. Documented writing ability as evidenced by publication.4. Membership in SVN for a minimum of one year.
We invite any interested colleagues to submit a letter of interest and current curriculum vitaeto: JVN Editorial Board, 7794 Grow Drive, Pensacola, FL 32514-7072. Please submit yourcontact information and fields of interest and expertise. All applications will be reviewed.