Introduction
My group and I designed a survey to learn about the current education level of nurses, and their plans for further education. We also were interested in finding any relationships between their current education levels, plans to continue their education, their years in nursing, and their current age. Our population was those currently working in the nursing field, including Certified Nursing Assistants. We did not obtain a random sample for this survey. Instead we surveyed coworkers in the nursing field at the various facilities where we work. My nurses were given a paper survey form with our questions to fill out. Others in my group may have used different methods of obtaining the answers to the survey questions. This would be considered a convenience sample, with a voluntary response aspect, as not everyone we asked took the time to respond. Also, there was some reluctance to take the survey and reveal age, even though they were told their responses would only be used for a class project, and they would remain anonymous. Also, with age there is the possibility that they may not have listed their age as honestly as we would have liked. I believe there is also a time factor which comes in to play here, as life changes, opportunities in the nursing field open up, and jobs change and evolve, a nurse may be more likely to continue their education in the future, but may have indicated that they had no intention to do so at this time  on this survey.
We asked the following questions on our survey:
1. The highest level of education in the nursing field you have obtained is:
Professional Certification [ ]
Associate Degree [ ]
Bachelor Degree [ ]
Master Degree [ ]
Doctorate Degree [ ]
2. Are you planning to continue your education in the nursing field?
Yes [ ]
No [ ]
3. How many years have you been in the nursing field? ___
4. What is your age in years? ___
Looking at Highest Level of Education in Nursing
The responses to the question “The Highest level of education in the nursing field you have obtained is” are shown in the pie chart below.
We can see from this pie chart that nearly half of our total surveyed group of 132, or 64 respondents have an associates degree. The next largest group is those with a bachelors degree, represented by 35.61%. From there, our groups are much smaller with masters degree coming in next at 8.33%. This is followed by professional certification, 6.06%, and the smallest group are those with a doctorate degree at only 1.52%, or only two respondents. I would have thought there would have been a larger number with the professional certification, but this could well be because of the fact that none of us included that group in our survey. Perhaps if we surveyed all nursing staff at one of our facilities, we could get a better picture of the actual break down of education level in an individual organization.
In order to see if the current education level of nurses makes a difference in whether they plan to continue their education in the future, we can look at the bar graph below.
We can see that there is a greater number of those with an associates degree who plan to continue their education, but not by a large number. Only 6 folks more plan to continue in the associates group. Next we can say that those with bachelors degrees are pretty satisfied with their level of education, and do not plan to continue their education. We can also say that none of our two doctorate degree nurses plan to continue their education. Since we had so few professional certification nurses in our group, we can say that they do plan to continue, but again the numbers are pretty small for us to make a good judgement from. Master degree nurses show 7 are satisfied with their current level, compared to 4 who plan to continue. Again, the numbers are quite small to make good judgement calls from.
Looking at years in the nursing field
The responses to the question “How many years have you been in the nursing field?” are shown in the histogram, boxplot, and summary statistics below.
Summary statistics:

The histogram shows a right skewed distribution with most of the data observed at less than 15 years in the nursing field. The histogram also shows that there is no symmetry, simply our peak and skew sloping to the right. The mode appears in the first bar which represents a frequency of about 33, and years in the nursing field of 2.5. It is interesting that there is a slight dip down and then back up between the 20 and 30 year mark. It would be interesting to sample a larger population, to see if this dip is indeed true of the nursing population, or just a dip because of the small number in our sample, or if it is simply a weakness in the way we took our convenience sample.
The median of our data is 10 years of experience, where the mean of our data is 12.78. The mean is greater than the median, which would be typical of a right skewed distribution.
There is a large variance in our data, the variance is 103.65, which can be verified by the definition of variance as the square of the standard deviation, which in this case is shown as 10.18. If we square this number we indeed get the large variance value shown above. If we use the range rule of thumb for estimating the standard deviation from the range, we come up with 9.75 (39/4) which is indeed close to the standard deviation of 10.18. So all our data checks out, applying the rules we know for estimation of some of these values. With a standard deviation of 10.18, we know that the majority (68%) of our data will lie within one standard deviation of the mean, or within 2.60 years and 22.96 years of experience in the nursing field.
In looking at the box plot, we can clearly see the median 10. Q1 is 4.5 and Q3 is 19, so our IQR =14.5. I calculated this to check that indeed the modified box plot, which shows no outliers, was correct. Using the IQR of 14.5 if we use the formula for finding outliers, we find that 1.5 times 14.5 equals 21.75. So any outliers would be at an amount greater than 21.75 plus Q3 of 19 or 40.75, and below Q1 of 4.5 by a the 21.75 puts us in negative territory, which with years is not possible. This is not surprising considering the shape of our histogram, with the highest frequency at the left of our graph within the first 2.5 years and the skew to the right. So there are no outliers in our data.
Looking for a relationship between age and years in the nursing field
To determine if there is a relationship between the responses to our questions: “How many years have you been in the nursing field?” and “What is your age in years?” we look at the scatter plot of the paired data.
The scatter plot reveals a strong positive linear correlation between the variables. This is probably not surprising, since professionals usually choose their career fields carefully, and stay with them for many years. There were a couple of points which may seem out of the ordinary, but if we look at them one being at about 15 years in field and age 68, this can easily be explained by a nurse who starts her nursing career later in life.
Correlation between Yrs. in Field and Age is: 0.84883655 
Our data sample of n=132 puts us off the table A5 of Critical values of the Pearson Correlation Coefficient r. There was a link in the outline for this report, but that link to the extended table did not work. Dr. Raquet posted a table in our discussion area, and looking at that table, with a sample size of 132 and a confidence level of 0.05, the value comes up 0.171. If we look at the absolute value of the linear correlation coefficient r, our correlation between years in the nursing field and age, we come up with a value 0.849, which is significantly larger than the table value, so we can conclude there is a significant linear relationship between these two pieces of data.
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