“Registered Nurses’ Beliefs of the Benefits of Exercise…” by Esposito


Exercise is important for the healthy growth of an individual. Esposito and Fitzpatric (2011) conducted research about exercise in one of the hospitals in New York. The researchers investigated exercise and its effects on the nurses and the patients.

Using the PICO question format, the population under the study registered nurses working in the inpatient and outpatient departments. The interventions that the researchers were interested in were examining the beliefs of nurses about exercise, exploring the exercise behaviors of the nurses, and evaluating the patients teaching about exercise. Esposito and Fitzpatric (2011) did not compare the aforementioned interventions with any other. The researchers were interested in measuring the effect of a nurse’s belief about exercise and his exercise behavior on health education to a patient.

The first PICO question that arises is in registered nurses working in inpatient and outpatient departments, how does belief in the importance of exercise compared with no belief, affect their exercise behavior? The second PICO question is in registered nurses working in inpatient and outpatient departments, how does belief in the importance of exercise compared with no belief, affect patients teaching about exercise? The final PICO question is in registered nurses working in inpatient and outpatient departments, how does their exercise behavior pattern compared with no exercise, affect patients teaching about exercise?


Research design

Esposito and Fitzpatric (2011) used a quantitative research design. This is because they focused on narrow concepts, which are exercise and its effect on the nursing profession. The second reason is that they used structured procedures as well as formal instruments to collect data. Finally, they collected objective data and analyzed the numeric information through statistical procedures.

The study is non-experimental because the researchers did not try any new intervention. The researchers were passively involved in the study because they collected data without manipulating any variable. The researchers did not have any control of the subjects under study. Lastly, the research was non-experimental because it was not testing any hypothesis and as a result, it cannot be used for prediction.

The specific design of this study is a correlational descriptive study. The researchers used correlation design to identify the relation of one variable to another. The main variables were the beliefs about exercise, the exercise behavior of the nurses, and patient teaching about exercise. Esposito and Fitzpatric (2011) wanted to establish the correlation between nurses’ beliefs about exercise, their exercise behavior, and patients teaching. Additionally, the study is descriptive because the researchers were exploring existing beliefs and practices about exercise. The researchers wanted to know the existing nurse’s beliefs about the importance of exercise. They also wanted to explore the practice of nurses teaching about exercise during health promotion education.

The population

The sample population was registered nurses working in inpatient and outpatient departments. The researchers used the non-probability sampling method to recruit the sample. The method was inadequate because it did not give each registered nurse in New York an equal opportunity of being included in the study. The researchers used convenience or accidental sampling to recruit the participants. The criterion was relative to quantitative research because the selected participants were willing to be included in the study. Hence, the probability of telling the truth was high.

The researchers used a sample size of one hundred and twelve nurses. This sample was inadequate because it is not ten percent of the population of nurses in New York. Thus, it cannot be a true representative sample. According to the demographic data, ninety-three percent of the participants were female with an average age of 43 years. Most of the participants used to work during the day. Approximately, fifty percent of the participants had a bachelor’s degree. The male participants had an average body mass index of around thirty-two while that of the females was twenty-six.

The researchers included all registered nurses who were employed by the hospital, consented to the study, and were involved in providing care to adult patients who were not critically ill. The researchers excluded all registered nurses working in critical care departments like operating, intensive care, delivery, labor, and emergency rooms. The researcher protected the rights of the participants by not forcing them to participate in the study and not exposing their names to the public.

The setting

The research took place in one of the hospitals in New York. It is a quaternary care hospital with a bed capacity of one thousand. It provides inpatient and outpatient services. The hospital employs approximately two thousand registered nurses. The nurses work in all the departments, which are inpatient and outpatient.


The researchers began by reviewing literature about the importance of physical activity. They used a health promotion model known as Penders. This is because the model emphasized the importance of the perceived benefit of something on a person’s behavior. The review of the literature was important because it helped the researchers realize the gap that existed in nursing research about exercise.

The researchers used a Benefit Barrier Scale to measure the beliefs of the nurses about exercise, a Physical Activity Subscale to measure exercise behavior, and a questionnaire to evaluate the nurses’ recommendation for exercise. According to Esposito and Fitzpatric (2011), the Physical Activity Subscale was reliable because it had a Cronbach alpha of 0.95, which is the same as a standardized result. The researcher did not test the reliability of the Benefit Barrier Scale and the questionnaire because they were measuring single items. The reliability data was accepted because many researchers have reported similar findings.


The researchers analyzed the data using the Pearson product-moment correlation coefficient. The aforementioned statistical tests are descriptive. The correlation aims to describe the relationship between two variables while the coefficient evaluates the similarities and differences.

The findings

According to the data about exercise beliefs, the mean, range and standard deviation were 89.31, 62-113, and 11.36 respectively. According to the data about exercise behavior, the mean, range, and standard deviation were 18.57, 8-32, and 4.88 respectively. According to the data about nurses’ recommendations for exercise, the mean, range, and standard deviation were 7.13, 7-10, and 2.59 respectively.


The limitation of the study is that the researchers used a non-probability sampling method and, as a result, they did not include many hospitals in New York. The sample size was small, thus, the results cannot be generalized. The methods used for data collection were at risk of bias from the nurses because the researchers cannot know whether they are telling the truth or not. The researchers presented the results in a manner that was difficult for people to understand. It is hard for some readers to understand the meaning of the mean, range, and standard deviation.


Although the study had some limitations, it is evident that exercise is imperative for preventing diseases and promoting health. The strength of the study is that the researchers used a reliable tool to collect data and interpreted the findings correctly. Besides, the results of the research are similar to other researches that the researchers reviewed in the literature.

The study provides level IV evidence. This is because it is a correlational descriptive as well as a single non-experimental study. Therefore, there was no control as well as a comparison group. The lack of a control and comparison group, which is a characteristic of a non-experimental study, reduced the level of evidence to four.


Exercise, which was the problem under investigation, is significant to the health care organizations and the nursing profession. To the health care organizations, the burden of the disease will reduce if patients are educated on the importance of exercise in disease prevention. In the nursing profession, the pressure of work will reduce if few people become sick. Besides, nurses can teach patients about exercise when they believe in it and adapt the behavior of exercising. Therefore, exercise was an important problem to study. Nurses should be taught about the importance of exercise to them and the patients and be encouraged to educate patients about its relevance.

In the review of literature, Pender’s Theory of Health Promotion was cited as a basis for the research. According to this theory, something that a person sees as important will motivate his behavior. Additionally, the importance of that thing will motivate him to plan an act of getting it. For instance, if a person sees that exercise is important, he will plan action on how to exercise. Since the goal of nursing intervention is health promotion, nurses should integrate exercise programs into a health promotion activity. This will ensure that nurses educate patients about exercise. Additionally, both the nurses and the patients will realize the importance of exercise and adjust their behaviors.

The results of this study may be generalized to all the nurses, patients, and community members. Exercise is important to the nurses because it influences their recommendation for exercise during health education. The patients benefit from exercise because it facilitates faster recovery. The community members benefit from exercise because through it, the risk of preventable diseases like high blood pressure and cardiovascular conditions reduce.

The researchers recommended that future researchers should replicate the same study in different areas before generalizing the findings. This is because the sample population was small. Besides, the validity and reliability of a research increase when a study is done several times. The researchers suggested that the goal of nurses should be to exercise and to educate patients about exercise because it will assist in reducing the burden of diseases.

Other implications are that nursing care plans should have health education as one of the components and patients should be evaluated on their knowledge about exercise. Secondly, every person who visits the hospital should be educated about exercise. If possible, nurses should distribute brochures or pamphlets about the significance of exercise to all patients. Thirdly, the hospital in charge should organize seminars and educate nurses about the importance of exercise on the human body. Finally, in order to improve the quality of care, nurses should go into the community and campaign for awareness about exercise.

The above study can be replicated in my current hospital setting. This is because the hospital has both the inpatient and outpatient departments with different careers of nurses. Before applying the findings of this study, I will consider the willingness of the patient to be taught about exercise. If the patient has a negative attitude regarding exercise, I will try to convince him about the benefits so that he can change his mind.

The findings of the study are significant to the body of nursing knowledge because they can be used to develop policies about the care of patients. For instance, a hospital can develop a policy that states that nurses should screen all patients for their levels of knowledge about exercise and take appropriate actions. Secondly, the findings can be used for evidence-based practice. The nurses can always say that they teach patients about exercise because its importance in health promotion is documented. Finally, the findings create room for future nurse researchers. This is because nurses need to research more about exercise so that they get an insight into its significance in the nursing practice.

The findings of this study could be used to improve the safety and quality of patients through the development of a theoretical framework for health promotion. For example, the theoretical framework about exercise can be developed from the variables of the study. The theoretical framework should have three components that include nurses’ beliefs about the exercise having an influence on their exercise behavior pattern, when a nurse believes that exercise is good, he/she will always teach the patient about it and a nurse who exercises will always recommend the same to the patient. By reviewing the aforementioned theoretical framework, nurses can offer quality and safe care to the patients.


Esposito, E. M., & Fitzpatric, J. J. (2011). Registered Nurses’ Beliefs of the Benefits of Exercise, their Exercise Behaviour and their Patient Teaching Regarding Exercise. International Journal of Nursing Practice , 17(1), 351-356.