nursing capstone project

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What is a nursing capstone Project?
In basic terms nursing is a profession that deals with the treatment and care of patients. However, there is nothing basic about nursing being a nurse requires a deep understanding of the patient's emotions not just treatment. The main differentiating factor between nurses and other healthcare professionals is the approach to training, patient care and practice scope. In many cases nurses provide care under the instruction of doctors or physicians which has led to a public image that nurses are just caregivers. However, there are growing cases where nurses are permitted to work independently under certain conditions.
Over the years nursing as a profession has undergone many diversifications which have led to changes in nursing education to offer more specialized credentials. Today's nurses can develop a care plan focused on treating an ailment or improving the quality of patient life while working closely with doctors and other specialized medical practitioners. In many countries especially the developed ones, clinical nurses are permitted to diagnose and treat patients within a given regulation.
To be a practicing professional nurse, nurses must undergo vigorous educational training combined with practical exposure. To be proven fit for health care practice nurses must pass a serious evaluation and an evidence-based test, capstone project. The education requirement for nursing may seem difficult and hard to achieve but they follow other medical degree formats. Undergraduate and graduate nursing students are required to complete their studies with a capstone or thesis.
Difference between thesis and capstone in nursing
The main difference between thesis and capstones is that while a thesis is a requirement to complete a graduate degree, a capstone project is a requirement to complete an undergraduate degree. A capstone project is meant to review existing information where students are required to make a research project in the form of a paper by reviewing and analyzing a specific topic. On the other hand, a thesis starts by making a broad claim about a topic by introducing new information and evaluating the claim. A thesis by norm can have more than 80 pages depending on whether it's a master's or doctoral. In summary a thesis introduces new information and ideas while a capstone project looks and reviews the existing ones.
How to choose a capstone Idea
Finally, after several years of study it's time to pick your capstone project. Choosing a capstone project idea may seem daunting at first but there are several factors students need to consider to make the process easy. While the academic area may be guided by your major a specific topic for a capstone project may not be straight forward. Choosing the right topic can be time-consuming but never a waste of time. Take time and do a thorough investigation on the topic you want to research on this will save you time when you start the actual paper.
Here are some tips that can help you choose your capstone project
1. Reflection of topics you've learned so far
By now you’ve covered most of the undergraduate topics and you are confused about what topic to choose for a capstone project. Don't be surprised to learn the idea could be there right in front of you. Start by reflecting on the topics you've so far learned by looking at what topics stood out the most and which you enjoyed. A list of these topics will give you an idea of the capstone project to undertake. Make sure you list all initial questions you have on each topic this will give you directions toward your project.
2. Review of the listed topics
The next step is to read materials that have been written toward each topic. It’s important to ask yourself if these few question
a. Is there information out there that you can explore or was most of it covered in class or during course work
b. Is this an area that you can see yourself working on in future and contributing toward its advancement
c. Are there researches on this topic that have caught your eyes and are promising
The answer to these questions will help you narrow down your list. Make sure you preview the most recent research materials on these topics.
3. Narrow down toward a specific topic
By now you should have an idea on what topic you want to focus on the next task is identifying which questions you need to answer about the topic. Research is about expanding knowledge and to do that you need to understand the topic you are going to write on and what area of the topic you want to focus on. It's important to note down all you know about the topic to be able to create a hypothesis which your paper will seek to test. Make sure you narrow your focus as much as possible by avoiding a vague question. It's also important to choose a question that is interesting and captivating to you.
4. Reach out to your supervisor for advice
Once you have your topic figured out it's important to consult your project supervisor for advice. They will be able to recommend possible resource material and perhaps help you rephrase your question or focus. The supervisor will also be in a position to approve your topic and make sure you are on the right track.
5. Start reading more on the topic
Now that you have the topic figured out and approved its time to dig deep into research papers and materials written about the topic. When researching the topic it’s very important to start with old material toward the new ones. This will help you refresh your understanding of the topic and its development over time which is necessary for your research.
Sometimes it happens that when you are doing research you find someone has written a similar topic to yours and that's okay. You need to extensively learn about this paper and more importantly the author's approach and findings. Now ask yourself if you can approach this topic from a different angle and perspective. Before you start writing make a schedule and outline how you will proceed with your paper and make sure you keep your supervisor updated regularly on your progress.


Capstone ideas for nursing
1. Anesthesia
Anesthesia plays an important role in medical treatment to prevent patients from feeling pain especially during surgery. Anesthetics – drugs used to induce anesthesia- are broadly categorized into three main categories namely general, regional and local. General anesthesia is used for procedures that require the patient to be fully asleep. Regional and local anesthesia are used to numb a specific part of the body. Compared to local anesthesia, regional anesthesia numbs a larger part of the body like an arm while local anesthesia numbs a finger. The hardest part for any nurse is figuring out just how much drug should be introduced and which category of anesthesia to use. A nursing capstone on anesthesia help nurses understand more about anesthesia which can further their career.
2. Patient fall
As we age chances of sudden fall become greater but it should not be a norm. Though the cause of falls varies from dehydration, age and medical conditions they are generally unanticipated and can happen without a warning. Despite numerous studies by scientists to figure out how to anticipate sudden fall there haven't been any concrete findings. The field has a lot of unknowns and working on a capstone project in this field will give you an upper hand in the professional nursing field. The project will also equip you with the necessary knowledge and skills that can be vital in coping with such conditions during your everyday work.
3. Nursing wound care
Wounds are probably the most common hospital admissions. Wound treatment and management more often than not require a full assessment of the patient. Most healthcare facilities and hospitals are always looking out for better wound treatment and care from providers like nurses and physicians. A capstone project on wound care and treatment can help equip nurses with the knowledge and skill they need to excel in this field. To successfully carry out the project one needs to look at recent researches and explore gaps that are yet to be fulfilled.
4. Suspected depression patient psychological assessment
Depression is one of the most overlooked conditions even in hospital settings the situation is made worse when the patient is admitted due to other health complications. The psychological health of a patient is very important as it affects their physical treatment and recovery. Early detection of depression is important in enabling quick recovery. In some cases depression itself might be the cause of the physical ailment which can hamper treatment of the ailment. Research on the subject provides students with the necessary understanding and knowledge of the patient's psychology.
5. Hospital infection prevention
It's no secret that patients and even medical practitioners do contract infectious diseases in the hospital. The rate of these infections is on the rise and is becoming a major cause of morbidity and mortality. The scientific approach for infection prevention and control calls for measures to identify risky patients and observing the recommended hygiene standard. In many healthcare centers and hospitals its nurses' responsibility to keep and maintain a high level of hygiene to prevent hospital infections. The topic can provide a good capstone idea.
6. Patient home care and transfer
Unlike patients at the hospital who receive all-time assistance and attention from healthcare practitioners patients at home don't get to enjoy that much care. Though the ideal place for any patient to receive treatment and care is in hospitals and health centers there are chronic diseases and conditions that a long term requiring home care and treatment. Patients need to acquire self-care skills while still in the hospital. Effective home self-care treatment of symptoms can help in hospital decongestions. Research and new education in the area may prove vital for nurses in the hospital.
7. Breastfeeding education
Breastfeeding is beneficial to not only the child but also the mother. Breast milk is known to contain the vital nutrients a baby need for the first six months. The goal of breastfeeding education is to develop a positive attitude toward breastfeeding for mothers and to equip them with the knowledge and skills they need to help them view it's as normal. This shows the importance of breastfeeding and nurses with this knowledge and education will play a vital role. Breastfeeding education has many areas that still need research and can provide a good capstone idea.
8. Research on the sexually transmitted disease (STD)
In many cultures sex education has remained a taboo. Most people find it hard to discuss their sexuality which has in turn made it hard for them to talk about sexually transmitted diseases. Sexually transmitted diseases can have a detrimental effect on a patient's health. Research on sexually transmitted diseases provides an excellent capstone project idea.
9. Sleeping disorder
Good sleep is important for human health and can affect mood, weight and hormone level. In its simplest term sleeping disorder can be defined as changes in sleeping habits that often have a negative health impact. Due to the pressure of life sleeping disorders have become common and medical professionals are struggling with the best prescription for such. Research on the same can provide a nurse with vital knowledge that can set them apart from others.
Structure/ Format of a capstone project
Though a capstone project may be different from other papers you have done over the years the structure is not that different from them.
• Project title page: This page introduces the title of the project
• Signature page
• Executive summary: This is a short introduction and summary of the whole project. It’s important to differentiate an executive summary and an abstract. An executive summary is condensed form of the report while an abstract is short to inform readers what will be covered by the report but no finding is revealed. A good executive summary should give readers a good idea of the key points without them going through the whole report.
• Table of content: This is a list of section or chapter and subchapter contained in the document and the page they can be found
• Statement of problem: This marks the start of the main part of the project. A statement problem describes the issue to be addressed. It tells readers the current situation and the gaps to be filled
• Project description: The section provide details of the research design, project objectives, purpose and goal. In most cases, the project description also contains the literature review.
• Evaluation plans: Through evidence this section addresses every objective, methodology and analysis.
• Results: This is where the outcome of the research goes. Results should be written in a manner that each objective results are explained whether met or not. Barriers and challenges are also written here.
• Conclusion and recommendation: The conclusion talks about the knowledge acquired from the research while recommendation gives direction on the project and if it should be stopped or continued. In some cases conclusions and recommendations are written separately.
It's important to note that the above structure may contain other sub chapters.



Importance of capstone project to a nursing student
1. Help solve community issues. Nursing capstone projects are evidence-based research to find out more about the medical issues facing the community. Learning about the issues goes a long way on addressing them
2. Provide more information on medical issues: A capstone project can help define and come up with strategies for addressing medical issues and as well as more information on the issue.
3. Capstone project help develop specialist: One of the key tips of writing a good capstone project is to write on something one has an interest in. Through this, a capstone project one can develop passion and become a specialist in the subject
4. A capstone project allows students to apply theories learned: A good capstone project is one that utilizes theory to give a practical solution.

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