Nursing Capstone paper Writing Guide for BSN-DNP Students
Nursing students pursuing a BSN, MSN or DNP at most universities and colleges must complete a nursing capstone paper. Although it is a final paper that relies on the concepts learned in school, many students find it difficult to complete one. It can be frustrating if you don’t have the skills required to write a capstone paper.
Nursing capstone projects require adequate research, creativity, critical thinking skills, and proper formatting. This is your final paper before you can be eligible to work. Some strategies and tips can be successful, while others may prove to be disastrous.
This article from Quick Nursing Help covers all aspects of writing a nursing capstone project. We’ll also discuss some common pitfalls that can lead to capstone projects failing and how you can avoid them. Let’s get started.
What is a Nursing Capstone Paper?
Nursing capstone papers are academic papers that nursing students write in their final year. It can be a research paper, empirical paper or an analysis of a program or policy, or a survey that is completed at the end nursing training.
You may be asked to address different health issues related to nursing practice when writing your capstone paper. This depends on the area of study. You will often be required to use evidence-based practices skills to solve healthcare problems. You can, for example, choose to create a new intervention strategy that promotes health, enhances the quality of life, improves healthcare outcomes, and increases patient safety and satisfaction.
The capstone test will assess your ability to apply the research and experiential evidence to solve the healthcare problem. This requires you to link the topics to leadership and research, management, theories, frameworks and evidence-based practices.
When the capstone is complete, the student must present the paper to the faculty panel. This is sometimes referred to as “defending” the capstone project. Sometimes it’s about helping one to transition through nursing education.
Do you need help deciding what nursing capstone topic to write? Our article provides a list 300 plus ideas for a capstone project for BSN, MSN and DNP.
Not all nursing programs require a capstone. However, those that do make it mandatory for obtaining a nursing degree are either a bachelor of science (BSN), Master in Science (MSN) or Doctor of Nursing Practice.
Basic Structure of Nursing Capstone Paper
Each nursing program has its own requirements. The format of the capstone may vary depending on which program you are in. If you are given a paper or presentation that is evidence-based, there is a standard structure you can use. In most cases, there will be very few variations to what we are going to show.
Keep in mind that well-constructed capstone papers make a great first impression on your markers. They also make it easier to read the paper. Because most of the information is in the capstone project instructions briefs, we will only be briefly covering each section.
This is a structured, research-based nursing capstone project. We have an article on the structure of a nursing capstone paper (also known as a nursing change paper).
· Title Page
Your capstone paper’s title page is the most important. It is also known as the cover page in most cases. It can be written on an Harvard title page or APA. American nursing schools prefer APA format for capstone papers. However, nursing schools in Australia and the UK prefer to have capstone projects written using Harvard format.
This is the first section of your nursing capstone project papers. This section is typically brief, well-written and organized to match the flow of your capstone. It should be last. The purpose of the capstone paper should be explained. The length of the paper should not exceed one page and should be between 200-250 words. You should also give a brief history of the topic and possible solutions.
A hook statement should be the first part of your introduction. In most cases, you will use statistics or shocking statements to grab your reader’s attention. If you are focusing on Hospital Acquired Illnesses, for example, you might draw on a publication or study that details the shocking HAIs and the costs of managing them.
The introduction should explain the background and reasons for choosing the topic for your capstone paper, as well as why you choose it. The introduction should include your thesis statement as well as the outline of the paper.
The thesis statement in a capstone paper is typically the central idea that binds the entire piece together.
Some programs suggest that you include a complete blueprint of your capstone in your introduction.
The introduction should not exceed 10% of the total words count for the capstone paper in terms of length. The introduction should also include:
You must always create a PICOT question for nursing before you start researching for your nursing capstone paper. PICOT questions usually elaborately address the healthcare problem you are trying solve.
Question about Nursing Research
Based on the PICOT question, it is time to create a core nursing research question. It’s usually a short question that summarizes the PICOT question. Some programs require students develop PICOT questions as well as the nursing research question before they can proceed to the rest of the capstone paper. Sometimes the PICOT questions are replaced by the research question. This allows you to focus on issues that do not involve patients, such as nursing leadership and policies.
Statement of the problem
You must explain the problem because you are trying to address a health issue thataffects nurse practice. To describe the problem’s extent, you will need to use the most current sources available within the past five years. You can give statistics on the problem, the costs, and how it affects a particular population. Clearly state the problem if you are focusing on research in leadership, management, education.
Statement of Purpose
This section is sometimes considered to be part of the introduction. It outlines the goals, objectives, and scope for your capstone project paper. If you propose an evidence-based solution, mention how it will solve the problem.
· Literature Review
The literature review follows the introduction, problem statement, purpose statement and nursing research question. Annotated bibliographies are not part of a literature review. Consider what other scholars have written about the topic that you are choosing for your capstone paper.
If you’re trying to solve a problem like overcrowding in emergency rooms, you might want to look at what peer-reviewed articles published within the last five years has to say about the severity of the issue, possible interventions and the barriers to those interventions.
Use studies that are relevant to the research you are doing, preferably journal articles. When writing a nursing paper, it is a good idea to always consider the strongest evidence. Some institutions may require you to conduct a literature search prior to writing the literature review. You will also need to fill out a matrix or table that includes the relevant aspects of the selected studies.
Other programs may require that you complete an annotation bibliography of all your primary sources before you can take the nursing capstone preceptor’s exam. Whatever the situation, you should make sure your literature review is thorough. Compare what the authors agree and disagree on to create a common ground on which to base your paper. Literature reviews can be done as a separate paper to be used in the compilation. The final step is to bring together all of the papers in order to create a complete capstone project paper.
You can also include the literature review with the frameworks or theories that you use to base your capstone. You can use borrowed theories or leadership frameworks/theories when writing your capstone. Your professor, supervisor or preceptor will direct you on what to choose.
· Methods and Materials
This section should list all materials used in your research for your capstone. If you are doing a quantitative capstone, you should list the sampling strategies used, the sample types, inclusion criteria and the research process. It is also important to list the research ethics you used. For example, if you choose to do a qualitative capstone project in nursing, you should list the search strategy used, exclusion criteria and the number of articles you used. Also, include the PRISMA diagram and any other materials you used. The summary of your chosen studies can also be included. You can also include a summary of the chosen studies, which could be supported by references from nursing journals. How did you conduct the research and how you ensured its validity, reliability, and relevance? In the event that you used R or SPSS to analyze data, describe how you did it.
· Results and discussion
The results and discussion section will contain the findings of the research. Report the results of an experiment. To report your findings, you can use charts, tables, graphs and graphs for example, in a nursing capstone project. Also include the results of the analyses and tests. If qualitative research is used, you should describe the results of the interviews, content analysis and systematic review.
Then, you should compare your findings with what other scholars have found. This will allow you to reflect on the literature review as well as the topic of your capstone paper. Use relevant scholarly resources such as edited books and reputable periodicals, nursing guidelines, protocols and evidence from credible websites, such as WHO, CDC and ANA.
The conclusion is the last part of any paper. The conclusion is your final summary. It contains the key points, results, discussion, and recommendations. It should include a summary of your current research, as well as recommendations for future research. You should also discuss the significance of experimental data.
This section should showcase your writing abilities. Show that you began with a problem and now have a solution. If you have any recommendations, please briefly mention them as the discussion section will contain the majority of the explanation.
This section will list all sources that you have used, in alphabetical order. Depending on what prompt your professor gives you, you can use APA and Harvard. Unless directed otherwise, ensure that you use the most current formatting style.
This is where you will present any figures, diagrams, or tables that were part of your capstone project. It could include a Memo, implementation plan, Memo, data from participants, ethics/consent form, systematic review summary, evidence level tables, and data gathered.
The basic structure of a nursing capstone is shown below. Let’s now look at some strategies that can be used to speed up the writing process.
These tips will help you get the best nursing capstone paper, regardless of whether your school uses letter, marks or pass/no-pass grading systems.
Each section of your nursing capstone is important. Ensure that you are able to improve your capstone project writing.
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