A Baccalaureate Nursing Capstone Experience: Assessing Outcomes

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Deborah Ambrosio- Mawhirter, MS, RN1
Marybeth Ryan, PhD1
Andrea McCrink, EdD, WHNP-BC2
1School of Nursing, Adelphi University, Garden City, NY
2School of Nurisng, Adelphi University, Garden City, NY

Learning Objective 1: identify the benefits derived from having students complete a capstone experience

Learning Objective 2: - discuss the process of integrating general education learning goals into the nursing curriculum to improve students outcomes


A Baccalaureate Nursing Capstone Experience: Assessing Outcomes

The primary focus of a capstone experience in nursing education should be on assessing the synthesis, integration, and application of knowledge acquired during the students’ academic journey. In recent years, academic institutions have realized the necessity of documenting student learning outcomes. The capstone experience affords students the opportunity for thoughtful self-reflection which prepares them for “real world practice” and creates a path for life long learning.

This pilot project is designed based on a compliance change initiated by a private, mid-sized suburban University related to general education learning goals. These goals include: communication, critical and integrative thinking, information literacy, global citizenship, artistic understanding and expression. The school of nursing has developed a capstone experience which will incorporate these goals in a senior baccalaureate nursing professionalism course.
The purpose of the nursing capstone experience is to improve student outcomes related to their seminar and practicum experience through the integration of research, evidence-based practice, theoretical knowledge, leadership, health care policy, and quality improvement. The overall objective is to refine the students’ cumulative knowledge and skills in order to graduate nurses who will work towards improving the health and well being of their patients, communities and healthcare organizations. Students will be required to complete assignments that will assess attainment of the learning goals based upon specific rubrics.

Program evaluation will provide a methodological framework for this endeavor.Findings from this capstone project will provide baseline data to be included in the newly revised undergraduate baccalaureate nursing curriculum. This will allow students to demonstrate their attainment of the general education learning goals throughout the curriculum, not only in their senior capstone experience.