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Strategies for teaching evidence-based practice in nursing education: a thematic literature review

May-elin t. horntvedt.

1 Faculty of Health and Social Sciences, the Department of Nursing and Health Sciences, University of South-Eastern Norway, P.O. Box 235, N-3603 Kongsberg, Norway

Anita Nordsteien

2 Department of Research and Internationalisation, University of South-Eastern Norway, P.O. Box 235, N-3603 Kongsberg, Norway

Torbjørg Fermann

Elisabeth severinsson.

3 Centre for Women’s, Family and Child Health, Faculty of Health and Social Sciences, University of South-Eastern Norway, P.O. Box 235, N-3603 Kongsberg, Norway

Associated Data

Not applicable. All studies included in this review can be sourced online.

Evidence-based practice (EBP) is imperative for ensuring patient safety. Although teaching strategies to enhance EBP knowledge and skills are recommended, recent research indicates that nurses may not be well prepared to apply EBP. A three-level hierarchy for teaching and learning evidence-based medicine is suggested, including the requirement for interactive clinical activities in EBP teaching strategies. This literature review identifies the teaching strategies for EBP knowledge and skills currently used in undergraduate nursing education. We also describe students’ and educators’ experiences with learning outcomes and barriers.

We conducted literature searches using Medline, Embase, CINAHL, ERIC and Academic Search Premier. Six qualitative studies and one mixed-method study met the inclusion criteria and were critically evaluated based on the Critical Appraisal Skills Programme. Using Braun and Clarke’s six phases, the seven studies were deductively and thematically analysed to discover themes.

Four teaching strategy themes were identified, including subthemes within each theme: i.e., interactive teaching strategies; interactive and clinical integrated teaching strategies; learning outcomes; and barriers. Although four studies included a vague focus on teaching EBP principles, they all included research utilisation and interactive teaching strategies. Reported learning outcomes included enhanced analytical and critical skills and using research to ensure patient safety. Barriers included challenging collaborations, limited awareness of EBP principles and poor information literacy skills.

Four of the seven analysed studies included a vague focus on the use of EBP teaching strategies. Interactive teaching strategies are used, but primary strategies focus on searching for and critically appraising research for practice-based application. Although this review included a relatively small sample of literature, the findings indicate a need for more qualitative research investigating interactive and clinically integrated teaching strategies towards further enhancing EBP undergraduate nursing students’ knowledge and skills.

Evidence-based practice (EBP) in health care has become imperative for patient safety. EBP involves a conscious use and application of various knowledge sources, including the use of published research in conjunction with clinical expertise and patient values and preferences [ 1 ]. The process of EBP includes that health-care personnel formulate structured queries, and then conduct searches of databases from which they acquire trustworthy and reliable evidence. Further, they must then critically appraise the research for its reliability, validity and applicability to a clinical context [ 2 , 3 ].

Interactive methods including interactive lectures, small group work, journal clubs, reading quizzes, clinical nurse presentations, workshops and problem-based learning are needed in teaching EBP [ 2 , 3 ]. An interactive approach involves an interaction amongst the participants [ 3 ]. Effective learning reflects the quality of teaching. Learning though a constructivist approach refers to the creation of an environment in which the learner is an active participant who gains experience and engages in reflection, leading to problem-based, transformative learning [ 4 ].To engage the next generation of nurses and enhance their EBP knowledge and skills, a variety of teaching strategies have been recommended [ 5 – 7 ].

Khan and Coomarasamy [ 3 ] have described a three-level hierarchy of evidence-based medicine (EBM) teaching and learning methods. The first level is interactive clinical activities. The second level is classroom didactics using clinical and interactive activities. Finally, although less preferred for teaching EBP, the third level is classroom didactic or stand-alone teaching [ 3 ]. According to Fineout-Overholt et al. [ 2 ], it is important to keep teaching strategies simple and integration of EBP must be a natural part of the academic culture.

Research supports the first level in this hierarchy when teaching EBP; i.e., an interactive style is often preferred because this method facilitates student learning [ 8 – 10 ]. Johnson et al. [ 11 ] found that new learning methods and blended approaches to teaching EBP impact students’ attitudes towards research. In addition, Crookes et al. [ 12 ] identified different meaningful and engaging teaching strategies that have been adopted by nurse educators, such as online teaching, gaming and simulation techniques. However, these authors also concluded that nursing education needs to include more active lecture styles to strengthen the link between course content and clinical practice [ 12 ]. Ryan [ 10 ] introduced teaching strategies as extrinsic factors and found that teaching EBP and research methods may be more relevant if taught in a clinical context rather than using traditional didactic methods.

A mixed-methods meta-synthesis examining awareness and adoption of EBP stated that EBP skills for registered nurses and Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN-to-BSN) students are influenced by exposure to partnerships and contextual teaching and learning, as well as clinical practice experience [ 13 ]. Teaching and learning strategies have included clinical practicum projects, lectures, small group work, post-clinical conferences, online modules and simulations [ 13 ]. EBP teachers who collaborate with their students, and nurses in clinical practice also influence students’ integration of EBP [ 2 ].

To ensure nursing students’ enhanced EBP knowledge, it is also essential to build partnerships with librarians who teach information literacy, which involves searching for relevant research in databases and evaluating and using that information in relation to course requirements and assignments [ 2 , 14 ]. Reported barriers to the adoption of EBP include difficulties with searching databases and evaluating research, feeling isolated from knowledgeable colleagues and the perception that there are minimal benefits from EBP. Countering these barriers, Phillips and Cullen [ 13 ] found that a variety of teaching and learning strategies may empower students’ implementation of EBP in clinical practice.

Emerson and Records’ [ 15 ] overview of scholarship and its role in nursing education includes a description of catalysts that enhance EBP in nursing and the knowledge necessary for EBP teaching. They state that scholarly teaching is an academic expectation; however, it does not appear to advance either the education or the discipline beyond the individual level. Indeed, nurses face challenges to EBP from their inability to locate and critically evaluate information [ 16 – 19 ].

The European Higher Education Area (EHEA) framework specifies expected learning outcomes for candidates with a Bachelor’s degree, including skills in finding, evaluating, referring and applying scientific information [ 20 ]. Likewise, the Code of Ethics of the International Council of Nurses stresses that nurses must be aware of and implement research results into their clinical practice [ 21 ]. Despite these guidelines, it appears that teaching EBP in nursing education varies among nurse educators and universities, and that clinical preceptors may have insufficient knowledge needed to support students [ 2 , 10 , 19 ]. Recent research indicates that nurses may not be well prepared to use EBP in their clinical practice [ 22 , 23 ].

There is a dearth of literature regarding the effect of teaching and learning strategies on implementing EBP in nursing education [ 10 , 13 , 23 , 24 ] and it is currently unclear whether implementation of EBP training leads to improved nursing practice [ 13 ].

In this literature review, we aimed to identify strategies for teaching EBP in undergraduate nursing education. The review questions were: “What teaching strategies are used to enhance knowledge and skills in EBP in undergraduate nursing education and what are the learning outcomes and barriers?”

Identification of studies

We conducted literature searches using Medline, Embase, CINAHL, Academic Search Premier and ERIC. The PICo framework for qualitative research was used to develop the review questions, plan the search and define the inclusion criteria. The population or participants assessed were nursing students, nursing education and nursing programmes. The phenomenon of interest was teaching and the specific context was EBP education. These concepts were transformed into the actual subject headings and text used in the search strategy in Medline (Table  1 ), which represents how the concepts were truncated and combined using Boolean and proximity operators in all database searches. The search criteria included qualitative studies published in English from 2006 through 2017. This range was chosen based on an initial search in PubMed PubReMiner indicating that most research on EBP training in nursing education was published since 2006, when EBP gained a foothold in nursing education. We examined the references cited in the retrieved studies, as well as studies in Google Scholar that cited the retrieved studies.

Example of the search strategy in Medline

The inclusion criteria were: 1) original, qualitative research focused on EBP teaching strategies in undergraduate nursing education, i.e., we focused on qualitative research to gain a deeper insight into teacher and student experiences with these strategies; 2) peer-reviewed, original research; 3) studies on educators, student participation, or both; and 4) studies evaluated as moderate or high quality according to the Critical Appraisal Skills Programme (CASP) [ 25 ]. The exclusion criteria were: reviews, quantitative studies, theoretical studies and contributions that were not original research articles. Articles related to teaching strategies directed at health-care personnel, master programmes or postgraduate nursing education were also excluded.

We used the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis (PRISMA) [ 26 ] flowchart in the retrieval and selection process (Fig.  1 ) to identify 972 records from an initial database search and an additional 35 by manually searching those studies’ bibliographies. After duplicates were eliminated, we screened the abstracts of 724 articles. Of these, 708 articles did not meet our inclusion criteria, thus we obtained 16 full-text articles for further analysis. Each of the four authors examined all 16 articles, of which nine were excluded because of their low quality, focus on clinical intervention, or lack of focus on undergraduate nursing education. The final seven articles were included in the review.

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PRISMA flowchart of the screening and the assessment process

Critical appraisal

All four authors independently appraised the seven final articles for their methodological quality using CASP (Table  2 ), with moderate and high methodological quality defined as meeting 6–8 and 9–10 of the CASP checklist criteria, respectively. We discussed disagreements until consensus was reached.

Quality assessment based on the CASP Qualitative Research Checklist

CASP criteria for qualitative studies: 1. Was there a clear statement of the aims of the research?; 2. Was a qualitative methodology appropriate?; 3. Was the research design appropriate to address the aims of the research?; 4. Was the recruitment strategy appropriate to the aims of the research?; 5. Was the data collected in a way that addressed the research issue?; 6. Has the relationship between researcher and participants been adequately considered?; 7 Have ethical issues been considered?; 8. Was the data analysis sufficiently rigorous?; 9. Is there a clear statement of the findings?; 10. How valuable is the research? ( Y Yes, N No, U Unclear)

A thematic analysis was conducted to identify themes based on the six phases described by Braun and Clarke [ 27 ], whose deductive approach refers to themes identified top down; in other words, we coded themes based on our specific review question. Although Braun and Clarke [ 27 ] recommend using narrative text, the included qualitative studies and mixed-methods study provided text-based data. In the first phase, all four authors familiarised themselves with the research by reading and rereading the data from each study. In the second phase, the first author carried out a systematic, manual coding of features that led to initial codes, before searching for themes in the third phase. Phase four involved reviewing the themes for correlation with the codes and identification of subthemes. After defining the themes in phase five, the findings were evaluated for relevance to the research question. The authors met several times to discuss the analysis process and to reach consensus on the labelling.

A summary of the studies and their findings are presented in Table  3 . The seven studies were conducted in Norway, the United Kingdom (UK), Sweden, Australia and Finland [ 28 – 33 ]. Qualitative data were also gathered from one mixed-methods study [ 34 ] conducted in the UK which, although using mixed methods, reported qualitative findings from students’ graffiti board comments and a focus group interview regarding lectures.

Studies included in this review

The four themes (and subthemes within each theme) were: 1) Interactive teaching strategies (Research utilisation, Information literacy and Assignments as learning activities); 2) Interactive and clinically integrated teaching strategies (Teaching EBP principles and Clinical integration and collaborations); 3) Learning outcomes (Enhancing analytical skills and Changing attitudes toward utilising research); and 4) Barriers (Information literacy skills and knowledge and Challenging collaboration).

Interactive teaching strategies

An improved understanding of the differences between quantitative and qualitative methods was highlighted as an important aspect of preparation for nursing practice [ 29 – 32 , 34 ]. Interactive strategies to teach the research process, critical appraisal and development of information literacy skills were also emphasised. Interactive learning activities such as problem-based learning, sharing information, flipped classroom and virtual simulation, workshops, group work and seminars with discussions were identified [ 30 , 33 , 34 ]. In some studies, oral presentations of students’ research findings in a clinical setting were highlighted as an important part of the teaching and learning strategy [ 28 , 32 , 34 ].

Research utilisation

Traditional teaching methods preparing students to use research were aimed at improving critical thinking skills, critically evaluating various literature sources and developing information literacy skills [ 30 – 32 , 34 ].

Group work was also identified as a teaching strategy for establishing research utilisation [ 28 , 30 , 34 ]. In the mixed-methods study [ 30 ], several workshops and monthly sessions were conducted to improve research competence among both lecturers and students.

Experiential learning was often supplemented by collaborative group learning, such as partnerships for learning course content [ 34 ]. The authors presented experiential teaching approaches as a motivational tool for improving research learning. The students used student-centred approaches and completed small group research studies. Assignments included carrying out a literature review, developing a proposal, facing a mock ethics committee, and collecting and analysing data. This student work was supported by pertinent lectures, including via ‘Blackboard’, a virtual learning platform. Finally, students presented their methodologic and analytic approaches on the virtual learning platform [ 34 ].

Information literacy

Teaching information literacy and interdisciplinary collaboration, especially with librarians, was emphasised as an important part of students’ learning how to find and use research [ 29 – 31 , 33 – 35 ]. In contrast, collaboration with librarians was not mentioned in Mattila and Eriksson’s [ 32 ] study.

Friberg and Lyckhage’s [ 30 ] study emphasised the significance of research utility and disseminating research results. Cader et al. [ 29 ] revealed differences in students’ knowledge of computer and information literacy skills. In one study, differences appear to have been influenced by the role of the library in supporting nursing students, curriculum content and emphasis, and interaction with lecturers and peers [ 33 ]. Nurse educators indicated a need for staff development and a progressive approach to the curriculum to ensure students’ understanding of IL and its links to learning [ 33 ].

An environment supportive of the learning process promoted change and development. Collaboration with and facilitation and guidance by academic and library staff was considered essential for a successful process and outcome [ 29 , 33 ]. It was also clear from these studies that nursing students need greater support to access, use and evaluate information fully [ 29 , 32 , 33 ].

Assignments as learning activities

Course assignments were included as a part of the learning process in all evaluated studies, which included activities preparing students to use research or enhance their EBP knowledge and skills. Assignments that were integrated into clinical practice were particularly emphasised in the studies that focused on teaching EBP principles [ 28 , 29 , 31 ].

An assignment focusing on analysis of health needs was undertaken to help student nurses gain an understanding of the relevance of EBP [ 29 ]. Nursing students were found to require further development of their critical appraisal skills and further improvement of the guidance from both academics and librarians was needed [ 29 ].

Friberg and Lyckhage [ 30 ] emphasised essay writing as a learning tool and used different literature-based research methods to meet this goal.

Interactive and clinically integrated teaching strategies

The thematic analysis identified interactive and clinically integrated teaching strategies. Interactive clinical strategies included assignments based on collaboration with health-care personnel in clinical practice. Learning activities with oral presentations of the findings from the students’ studies delivered in their clinical work settings were also mentioned [ 28 , 32 ].

Teaching EBP principles

A focus on teaching the six EBP steps was evident in the studies by André et al. [ 28 ], Cader et al. [ 29 ] and Malik et al. [ 31 ]. Research utilisation was emphasised in these reports. There was a vague focus on EBP principles in three of the studies [ 30 , 32 , 33 ] and integrated teaching activities to teach clinical strategies were described in four of the studies [ 28 , 29 , 31 , 32 ].

Clinical integration and collaboration

In the study by Malik et al. [ 31 ], students participated in clinical projects and analysed data with researchers. Clinical experts were also engaged in the lectures.

Cader et al. [ 29 ] emphasised the benefit of students carrying out analyses of health needs through collaboration within the clinical practice context. To this end, nursing students conducted ‘mini’ research projects including an analysis of the health needs of a particular patient group with a common problem or diagnosis. Although the nursing students found the assignment challenging and time consuming, they also considered it meaningful because accessing information about health needs made the evidence relevant.

Mattila and Eriksson [ 32 ] outlined a learning assignment conducted during a six-week clinical practice period in which students chose topics aimed at utilising research and enhancing their competence in the clinical practice context. The clinical instructor approved a selected research article that was applicable to clinical practice and the nursing students orally presented their findings to fellow students and staff at their clinical practice placement.

A Norwegian pilot study by André et al. [ 28 ] focused on participation and cooperation in clinical research projects, which nursing students specified was a motivation for learning EBP. These students strongly appreciated working with experienced nurses on their clinical projects.

Learning outcomes

Students expressed that writing assignments helped them understand the research process. Based on the nursing students’ reports, they were motivated by being able to choose topics that were of interest to them [ 29 , 32 , 34 ]. Learning outcomes from teaching strategies were presented in most of the studies we evaluated, and it was from these outcomes that the Enhancing analytical skills and Increased awareness of using research subthemes were identified.

Enhancing analytical skills

Nursing students reported learning enhanced analytical and critical thinking skills, and some of the findings were outcomes of specific assignments and teaching strategies [ 28 – 30 , 34 ]. Students experienced learning outcomes and thus acknowledged the importance of research utilisation to their future clinical practice. It was emphasised in the reports that these students considered their key roles to be research consumers rather than producers [ 28 – 30 , 32 , 34 ]. Students also developed a greater awareness of the core role of nursing and that use of research is imperative in the nursing profession.

Based on the assignments they were given, the students in these studies reported learning outcomes such as understanding how to apply relevant evidence to everyday clinical practice. In this way, they learned to link research to health needs [ 28 – 30 ]. Mattila and Eriksson [ 32 ] reported that nursing students gained greater insight into their future profession. That academic presentations and discussions inspired them to search for research was considered ‘meaningful’.

Although nursing students considered themselves prepared to use research, Friberg and Lyckhage [ 30 ] emphasised that students are insufficiently skilled to assess research critically. This perspective is consistent with the findings by Cader et al. [ 29 ] that there is a need for further support for developing students’ critical evaluation skills.

Some students emphasised the importance of bringing together clinical practice, their own practical experiences and the research context. They experienced EBP as a platform to facilitate the development of their curiosity and critical reflection within clinical practice [ 28 ].

Changing attitudes toward utilising research

Nursing students reported research awareness as a learning outcome associated with information gathering and improved information literacy skills [ 29 , 30 ]. Despite completing acourse, students in one study stated that they had neither a comprehensive understanding of the information literacy concept nor improved skills [ 33 ]. Computer and information literacy skills apparently vary among both lecturers and students [ 33 , 35 ]. However, in several of the studies, increased awareness and understanding of research appeared to be an important learning outcome of information literacy teaching strategies for nursing students [ 29 , 30 , 32 , 34 ].

Generating an awareness of how to critically evaluate research evidence rather than producing research is necessary for implementing EBP. To obtain this awareness, it is crucial to find creative ways of guiding undergraduate nursing students to find and critically appraise research reports [ 30 ]. These studies emphasised nursing students’ increased awareness that implementing nursing research in clinical practice is a prerequisite to providing safer patient care [ 28 – 30 , 32 ].

Barriers to acquiring EBP and research utilisation skills were divided into two subthemes: i.e., information literacy skills and knowledge, and Challenging collaborations.

Information literacy skills and knowledge

Discontinuity of information literacy content throughout the curriculum seems to constitute a barrier to searching for and finding research [ 33 ]. In addition, some academics reported their own limited awareness of EBP teaching strategies [ 31 ].

Nursing students reported finding it challenging to find and interpret research. They were dependent on assistance from librarians and lecturers [ 32 , 33 ]. The need for more interdisciplinary support to teach information literacy skills was also emphasised in several studies [ 29 , 32 , 33 , 35 ]. When integrating EBP, it was challenging for academic nurses to implement innovative teaching strategies because they lacked knowledge, had a large workload or had insufficient time and resources to study new strategies [ 31 ].

Challenging collaboration

In one study, group work was interpreted as a barrier to learning EBP [ 34 ], which demonstrated that dysfunctional group dynamics can negatively affect the learning process. In contrast, in the same study, some students reported positive teamwork experiences that were motivating and enhanced their learning process [ 34 ]. In the study by Malik et al. [ 31 ], the academic educators reported that their students loved workshops on searching databases. Some nursing students reported that their clinical practice status made it difficult to gather the information required for their assignments [ 29 ].

The findings from this initial review demonstrate that various interactive teaching strategies have been emphasised to enhance knowledge and utilise research. However, despite being recommended strategies [ 3 , 14 , 36 ], factors such as teaching strategies that include clinical activities to develop EBP knowledge and skills seem to be given a lower priority. This review identified that self-reports and evaluations show that nursing students report development of critical thinking skills as a learning outcome of various teaching strategies [ 28 – 30 , 34 ], which is consistent with earlier studies [ 16 – 18 ]. In contrast, barriers to enhancing students’ EBP knowledge and skills included a weak understanding of information literacy and difficulties finding and interpreting research.

All analysed studies herein reported at least some use of interactive teaching strategies. Patient safety and quality of care in Western society require that future nurses have EBP knowledge, which means that they must use available research as well as patients’ preferences and their own clinical expertise in decision-making processes [ 14 , 36 ]. We identified studies that emphasised teaching strategies specifically aimed at finding research, critical appraisal and research utilisation through interactive methods [ 30 , 32 , 33 ]. However, it may be challenging for future nurses to obtain sound EBP knowledge if teaching strategies are mainly focused on research utilisation. A commission of health-care professionals and academic leaders presented their vision and common strategy toward strengthening global health-care systems, which argued that cross-professional collaboration in education is a powerful instrument for improving health-care outcomes [ 37 ]. Guiding principles, such as the code of ethics, the EHEA framework for expected learning outcomes [ 20 , 21 ] and health legislation emphasise wider use of the best research evidence in nursing practice, which may explain why teaching strategies are primarily directed at research utilisation. Information literacy skills are important to EBP; however, studies show that nurses and nursing students lack these skills [ 17 , 18 , 38 – 40 ].

Clinically integrated teaching strategies

In the present review, three studies [ 28 , 29 , 32 ] focused on clinically integrated teaching strategies in particular. The relationships between the clinical practice context and health needs analysis [ 29 ] were emphasised in a six-week clinical practice assignment, using oral presentation as a learning activity [ 32 ] and participation in clinical research projects [ 28 ].

Ryan [ 10 ] identified that learning EBP would have greater relevance for students if teaching strategies took place in a clinical setting. According to Llasus et al. [ 38 ], knowledge translation from education to clinical practice is challenging. These authors argue that if nursing students are expected to be able to implement EBP in clinical practice, they must have both EBP knowledge and EBP ‘readiness’, which requires strengthening their confidence in EBP.

Phillips and Cullen [ 13 ] observed that development of EBP skills for RN-to-BSN students was influenced by exposure to educational partnerships, contextual teaching and learning, and clinical practice experience. However, the findings from a Norwegian study in physiotherapy students reported a lack of both EBP culture and role models in their clinical practice [ 41 ].

A systematic review showed that EBP knowledge in medicine is increasing, irrespective of whether or not it is provided at undergraduate or postgraduate levels. Indeed, learning outcomes appear more effective if the teaching strategies are connected to clinical practice [ 42 ]. This notion was emphasised in the core clinical evaluation criteria developed in the Delphi Study by Bostwick and Linden [ 43 ]. In contrast, Ilic and Maloney [ 44 ] found no difference in learning outcomes. Despite the variety of teaching strategies across the studies we reviewed, they cumulatively show good evidence that any form of teaching EBM increases knowledge.

The findings from this review demonstrate that collaboration through clinical practice and patient care appears to be a relatively low priority. Patients’ preferences are not explicitly considered, despite an increased focus on seeing the patient as a collaborative partner in the EBP paradigm, ethical guidelines and legislation on education and health [ 2 , 3 , 20 , 21 ]. This is also contrary to recommendations about the factors that influence EBP skills, such as contextual teaching and learning and practical experience opportunities [ 13 ].

Becoming more analytical

It is worth mentioning that the nursing students in some of the studies included in this review increased their analytical skills because of EBP teaching strategies [ 28 – 30 , 34 ], regardless of whether the teaching focused exclusively on interactive or targeted both interactive and clinical strategies. However, research has shown that nursing students have inadequate knowledge to make them capable of judging, reflecting on and critically assessing research [ 10 ]. Becoming more analytical and changing attitudes towards utilising research in clinical situations may be essential for nurses in their future careers and could contribute to increased patient safety. These skills may lead to nurses with a higher level of analytical skills and clinical judgment, who have a greater ability to reflect and reason.

Course assignments as a teaching and learning strategy

According to the review findings, a variety of course assignments promote EBP knowledge and skills. Choosing topics of interest to students motivates them to develop EBP knowledge [ 29 , 32 , 34 ]. Several studies argue that assignments are essential for self-directed, continuous learning [ 18 , 38 – 40 ].

Methodological limitations

There are some limitations to this review. We used a relatively small sample of articles and excluded non-English language studies, which may have caused us to overlook some studies on enhancing EBP skills and knowledge in nursing education. However, to ensure a systematic search process, the literature search was performed by AN, an academic librarian. In addition, our use of several databases likely decreased the possibility of selection bias. The six qualitative studies included in this study were homogeneous in terms of their qualitative research design and meeting our inclusion criteria. Qualitative data from the mixed-methods study that addressed our research question was also included. Variations such as cultural diversity and differences in participant perspectives may also have affected the analyses in these studies. Despite these limitations, we met our goal of examining teaching strategies, learning outcomes and barriers in undergraduate nursing education, from the perspectives of both educators and students.


Insufficient attention has been paid to the use of EBP principles in nursing education. The teaching strategies identified in the represented studies show that interactive teaching strategies are used alongside traditional lectures to enhance research utilisation skills in nursing education. However, collaboration with clinical practice to enhance EBP knowledge was only vaguely addressed in most of these studies. In conclusion, there is a need to improve educators’ consciousness of and competences in teaching EBP principles, which involves using interactive and clinical integrated teaching strategies. Only seven studies met criteria for inclusion in this review, indicating that further targeted qualitative research is needed.


The authors acknowledge The University of South-Eastern Norway, Faculty of Health and Social Sciences for supporting this research.

The University of South-Eastern Norway, Faculty of Health and Social Sciences supported this research.

Availability of data and materials

Abbreviations, authors’ contributions.

METH was the lead author who planned and implemented the study in close collaboration with AN, TF and ES. AN predominantly carried out the literature research. All authors collaborated on analyses. ES provided substantial support for the study as an expert in qualitative research. METH drafted the manuscript. All authors provided critical comments on the manuscript and have approved the final version.

Ethics approval and consent to participate

Not applicable.

Consent for publication

Competing interests.

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

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Contributor Information

May-Elin T. Horntvedt, Phone: +4731009113, Email: [email protected] .

Anita Nordsteien, Email: [email protected] .

Torbjørg Fermann, Email: [email protected] .

Elisabeth Severinsson, Email: [email protected] .

Capstone Projects for Nursing Programs

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Are you ready to earn your online nursing degree?

Capstone courses function as a bridge between the end of school and the beginning of a career, allowing nursing students to put what they've learned into practice. As the name suggests, students complete capstones toward the end of their nursing training. Not every nursing program requires a capstone, but those that do generally culminate in a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) or doctor of nursing practice (DNP) degree.

Each nursing program sets their own requirements. While capstone formats differ between programs, they typically consist of an evidence-based practice formal paper or presentation. Students might complete their capstone projects as team leaders, and BSN candidates may present their papers to a faculty panel. Projects could include case studies, program evaluations, and policy analyses.

The focus on evidence-based practice allows students to apply research and experiential evidence toward solving a healthcare problem. For example, candidates may develop intervention strategies that promote health, improve outcomes, enhance quality of life, and foster safe practices for patients.

Capstone goals center on the application of knowledge gained during nursing training programs, including topics related to leadership , management, research, theories, and evidence-based practice, along with the strategies needed to transition from students to baccalaureate-level nurses.

Choosing Your Nursing Capstone Topic

When selecting a capstone topic, students should evaluate their interests, strengths, and weaknesses, along with their chosen nursing specialty area. Luther College recommends that students with lower GPAs and weaker nursing skills consider a basic medical-surgical topic. Those with strong clinical skills and high GPAs might choose emergency or intensive care medicine, although some students might prefer outpatient topics, such as clinical services, long-term care, or public health. However, this is simply an example of one school's approach, and readers should keep in mind that each school sets its own policies and recommendations.

Asking for guidance from faculty, supervisors, preceptors, and fellow students also helps narrow down capstone topics. Advisors can also provide assistance in choosing an appropriate capstone site, helping with questions of geographical location, facility size, patient population, and care delivery model.

Students develop and learn the skills needed to complete their capstones throughout their training. These include organization and time management, knowledge of evidence-based practice, writing, and critical thinking. They also learn to conduct literature searches, identify research designs, and evaluate evidence.

Completing Your Nursing Capstone

Capstone formats and completion times widely vary between programs. Students at Luther College and Purdue University Northwest complete their capstones in 4-5 weeks, while Ferris State University specifies a timeframe of 30 hours of online classes and 90 hours of applied project work. Case Western Reserve University's capstone spans 10 weeks.

Regardless of the program, most students follow a PICO format for project proposal questions of inquiry: population, intervention, comparison or condition, and outcome.

Some universities allow capstone projects to be completed in teams, in which students develop and implement the project. Capstone components may include defining the project and the team leader's role, selecting team members, and formulating the project plan.

In addition to the skills previously referenced, such as knowledge of evidence-based care, critical thinking, and effective writing, capstone courses hone leadership and management abilities These include mastering therapeutic communication, applying leadership and management concepts, and developing collaborative relationships and working on multidisciplinary teams.

Presenting Your Nursing Capstone

The capstone process culminates in a paper or presentation that measures students' skills in communication, information dissemination, and application of evidence-based practice skills. Members of the public may attend.

Utilizing the poster format, students commonly use three panels to illustrate: (1) the background, problem, and purpose; (2) methodology; and (3) 2-3 key findings and implications. Students who present using PowerPoint on a laptop or other device should pay attention to time limits, planning for one slide per minute, and verify that equipment and internet connectivity are available.

Visuals like graphs, figures, and bullet points are more effective than large blocks of text . Students should practice presenting in front of others to ensure that they thoroughly know their content and can answer questions. Backing up a copy of a PowerPoint presentation and printing out copies or transparencies guards against last-minute glitches.

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How is a nursing capstone graded.

Capstone grading methods differ between programs, with some issuing letter grades and others using a pass/no pass system. Grades typically hinge on a percentage basis of the project's written sections, the final proposal, and the presentation. Faculty evaluate how students execute the capstone course objectives, which may include the following:

Problem identification related to nursing practice, administration, policy, or education

Theoretical research and literature review, critical analysis and synthesis of literature and research findings, recommendations for evidence-based practice, discussion of implications regarding nursing roles, research, policy, and education, professional and civil collaboration and communication, use of the nursing process: assessment, diagnosis, planning, implementation, and evaluation, compliance with the nursing code of ethics, including ethical use of technology.

Students' presentation skill evaluation criteria include exhibiting thorough preparation and knowledge of the subject matter, clear and concise communication, adherence to any time limits, ability to answer questions and cite references, and persuasiveness.

What is the Difference Between a Nursing Capstone and a Thesis?

Students complete capstones individually or in groups, while thesis projects must be done alone. Capstone project time lengths span between four and 12 weeks, while graduate students work on their thesis projects throughout their 2- to 3-year programs. Graduate thesis courses generally take place over 1-2 semesters to keep students on track.

Finally, capstone topics evaluate current issues and theories; thesis students incorporate existing case studies and literature while exploring and arguing for their own original research. Some schools require students to publish their thesis papers in a healthcare journal.

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Theresa Granger, Ph.D., MN, NP-C With over two decades of teaching and clinical practice as a family nurse practitioner, Dr. Granger is an expert in nursing education and clinical practice at all levels of education (associate, baccalaureate, and graduate). She has published and lectured extensively on nursing education and clinical practice-related content. Her expertise ranges from student advising and mentoring to curricular and content design (both on ground and online) to teaching and formal course delivery. Dr. Granger is one of the founding faculty members of the University of Southern California’s first ever fully online graduate family nurse practitioner program .

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In 2019, Chippewa Valley Technical College (CVTC) was awarded a $2.5 million grant from the Department of Education to create 5 nursing open educational resources (OER) textbooks and 25 virtual reality scenarios. This session will provide a high-level overview of the Open RN grant project and will share the development and review processes used to create the five nursing OER textbooks. Information on how to access Open RN textbooks and a demonstration of the associated virtual simulations using H5P software will also be provided. Additionally, national usage data and the impact of these resources on student outcomes will be discussed. Please join us to learn more about these nursing OER or get involved in the project by serving as a peer reviewer.  

Kim Ernstmeyer is a certified nurse educator (CNE) and certified healthcare simulation educator (CHSE) who is passionate about using active learning and simulation to facilitate the development of clinical judgment in nursing students for safe patient care. She has extensive experience leading collaborative teams creating evidence-based, open educational resources (OER). As the curriculum project manager of the ARISE project, she led a multidisciplinary team in creating 150 augmented-reality simulations and serious games available on Skills Commons with over 50,000 international downloads. The ARISE project won second place in the Serious Games and Virtual Arcades competition at the International Meeting on Simulation in Healthcare (IMSH) in January 2018. Kim currently leads the Open Resources for Nursing (Open RN) project. The Open RN Project is funded by a $2.5 million grant from the Department of Education to create five Nursing OER textbooks and 25 virtual reality simulations. Three Open RN textbooks were Best OER Award winners from OE Global in 2020 and 2021. Kim has extensively presented OER and simulation projects at several international conferences, including International Meeting on Simulation in Healthcare (IMSH), International Nursing Association for Clinical Simulation and Learning (INACSL), National League for Nursing Educational Summit, Achieve the Dream, OpenEd, and OE Global. She co-authored the “Impact of Interprofessional Education on Nursing Students’ Attitudes Toward Teamwork and Collaboration with Physicians” in the Journal of Nursing Education.

Vince Mussehl is the library director at Chippewa Valley Technical College (CVTC) in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. As director, he has focused on customer service, the student experience, and student resource affordability, including open educational resources (OER). He has also served as faculty and department chair in the Library & Information Services associate degree program, an online program using only no-cost course resources as content, including OER. His course specialties include the gateway course, capstone course, and information ethics. Since the launching of the Open RN Project in 2019 he has served as the Lead Librarian – a project that is projected to save Wisconsin nursing students over $1.5 million annually. As a leader in open education, he has led the Affordable Learning committee at CVTC and saw a student savings of over $1 million during the 2020-2021 academic year. He also facilitates faculty professional development surrounding open education in Wisconsin and nationally. Vince has consulted with many different institutions on affordable learning and has facilitated several state, national, and international presentations focused on open education.

By the end of the webinar, participants will be able to:

  • Explain the importance of nursing open education resources (OER), their usage, and their impact on nursing student success.
  • Describe the development process of the five nursing OER textbooks and their ancillary materials.
  • Identify ways to contribute to current and future nursing open education resources.

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  • Open access
  • Published: 19 December 2023

Virtual reality simulation for nursing education: effectiveness and feasibility

  • Debra Kiegaldie   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0002-4077-5818 1 &
  • Louise Shaw   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0001-8188-2313 2  

BMC Nursing volume  22 , Article number:  488 ( 2023 ) Cite this article

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Virtual Reality simulation (VRS) is an innovative and emerging technology that has the potential to offer increased numbers of pre-registration students authentic learning experiences compared to traditional simulation- based education (SBE) with simulated participants. The aim was to evaluate learner outcomes of SBE compared to 4 fully immersive VRS scenarios, for vocational and higher education nursing students at a training and further education institute in Melbourne, Australia. A mixed methods quasi-experimental design study was conducted over two semesters from 2019 to 2020. Participants were 675 pre-registration nursing students. The intervention group (VRS n = 393) received 4 three-dimensional, immersive VRS modules. The control group (SBE n = 282) received 4 face-to-face large group immersive simulations. In the VRS group 95% of students actively participated, compared to SBE (on average 15%). Knowledge test scores were initially significantly greater ( p  < 0.01) for VRS versus SBE students, but not maintained post clinical placement. Intervention students found VRS to be realistic and prepared them for clinical practice. Some technical difficulties were identified with VRS. VRS was found to be more cost effective than SBE. VRS fostered critical thinking and provided an efficient and sustainable platform for learning about complex clinical situations.

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Most health professional pre-registration courses now make use of simulation-based education (SBE) as an evidence-based educational method to practise clinical skills [ 1 , 2 , 3 ]. Clinical simulation environments are immersive and multisensory, promoting the development of psychomotor skills and executive functioning [ 1 ]. Simulation became particularly valuable as an education method for meeting the challenges posed by the need for virtual learning during the COVID 19 pandemic [ 4 ]. Traditional simulations are highly successful but currently not scalable due to increasing demand, student numbers and access limitations [ 5 ]. Few students can actively participate in an immersive simulation, with the majority being inactive observers [ 5 ]. The ability to provide increased opportunities for all students to be involved in authentic work-based learning experiences is essential for students to become effective and competent practitioners.

Virtual Reality (VR) technology is an innovative and emerging technology that is increasingly being used in health professions education. VR simulations allow for active learning experiences that are interactive, authentic, standardised, and safe [ 6 , 7 , 8 ]. Three-dimensional VR simulations where there is a perception of being physically present in the virtual world [ 9 , 10 ], are seen as being highly immersive [ 11 ]. Wearing VR glasses or head mounted displays, adds to the visceral feeling of being in the simulated world [ 10 ]. Once the VR scenarios have been created, they can be re-used multiple times for a variety of learners [ 6 ], and can be accessed by students anywhere at any time [ 7 ]. They allow students to experiment with different outcomes, practise the scenarios, and experience elevated risk events without compromising safety [ 7 ]. Limitations to VR include lack of immersion and realism [ 12 ]. VR scenarios can also be expensive to develop and time-intensive [ 6 , 7 , 13 ]. VR requires a fast and reliable internet service, computer skills, technology resources and appropriate training and orientation prior to commencement [ 7 ].

Whilst there is some evidence for the use of VR simulation (VRS) in student nursing education to increase students’ knowledge and positive perceptions of their learning experience [ 8 , 14 , 15 , 16 ], there is limited literature on the economic viability of VRS. Jasper VR was a fully immersive virtual reality education program, developed through a collaborative consortium, that immersed students’ senses (vision, hearing, and motion) in a 3D world for a range of common clinical scenarios. By using the VR headset and by means of gaze control, students were able to make decisions that in turn determined the future trajectory of each patient they interacted with.

The aim of this study was to evaluate learner outcomes of traditional SBE compared to a series of fully immersive VRS scenarios, for vocational and higher education nursing students at a training and further education institute in Melbourne, Australia.

Research questions:

What was the impact of VRS compared to SBE on students’ knowledge of, confidence in, and motivation to learn about managing common clinical conditions?

What are the reactions of students in relation to the usability, efficiency, and effectiveness of VRS?

What is the impact of VRS compared to SBE on the number of nursing students with an immersive simulation learning experience?

Is the use of Jasper VR a feasible and economically viable education method?

Materials and methods

Using a mixed methods quasi-experimental design, this study compared educational outcomes from traditional simulation using simulated participants with VRS. Ethical approval was obtained from Monash University Human Research Ethics Committee, Project ID: 19235. Written informed consent was obtained from the participants of the study.

Jasper VR was a uniquely developed VR-based education platform called VirtualU, that was developed through a collaborative consortium. Using 360-degree video and sound technology, the Jasper VR VirtualU software application captured the variations and potential outcomes of a range of common clinical scenarios using simulated participants. By using the VR headset and by means of gaze control, students were able to select pre-determined actions, that in turn determined the future trajectory of each patient they interacted with. Feedback on patient outcomes following choices made by the student, was provided via visualisation of the different pathways. Debriefing and discussion took place after each simulation.


A representative sample of consenting students enrolled in the Bachelor and Diploma of Nursing courses at a Training and Further Education Institute between July 2019 and June 2020, participated in the study. Consenting students consisted of 7 cohorts (Table  1 ). Students were pre-allocated to tutorial groups (n = 5–6), which were randomly assigned by an external organisation, to either the control or intervention groups. Students who did not consent to participate in the research remained in a non-intervention group and received standard teaching.


For the duration of the research a core group of experienced facilitators (n = 3) were used for both the control and intervention groups. Facilitators received a 1-hour training session on how to debrief and were provided with a debriefing guide. Debriefing was based on the Promoting Excellence and Reflective Learning in Simulation (PEARLS) framework [ 17 ].

Simulation scenarios (VRS and traditional simulation)

Module 1: The verbally aggressive patient, Module 2: The deteriorating patient, Module 3: The patient with cognitive impairment, Module 4: Palliative and end of life care.


Control group (traditional simulation).

students participated in standard teaching activities in the Diploma and Bachelor of Nursing, including lectures (large group), tutorials (small group), clinical skills laboratories, role-plays, and four face to face large group immersive simulation scenarios using simulated participants, in the Simulation Centre.

Intervention group (VRS)

students participated in the same standard teaching activities as the control group but received the four Jasper VR modules as an alternative to traditional face to face large group immersive simulation scenarios.


Healthcare simulation standards of best practice were utilised for both the intervention and control scenarios [ 18 ]. Whilst, pre-briefing and debriefing was delivered separately to the control and intervention groups, the intervention and control groups received the same pre-briefing and debriefing according to the PEARLS framework [ 17 ].

Pre-briefing for each module

An experienced and trained facilitator provided an overview and briefing to control or intervention students on the module’s content, key learning points and its application to clinical practice.

Control or intervention students received a scheduled debriefing session for each module from one of the experienced facilitators. The debrief provided an opportunity for students to explore the content in more depth, discuss important clinical issues, ask questions, and clarify important concepts.

Delivery of VRS

Intervention students were provided with a Jasper VR handbook and VR headset. At the commencement of the first session students downloaded the required mobile software application, VirtualU, onto their mobile phone, using the education institute’s Wi-Fi. Students were provided technical assistance from the project managers for the duration of the research study.

Each VRS module had two options:

Free roam : available within or external to classroom time, allowed students to navigate their way through the module scenarios, make decisions about clinical practice and reflect on critical issues that arose. They were able to repeatedly view the scenarios in preparation for clinical placement.

Mastery videos : embedded into the program and included videos of clinical experts performing a range of skills to demonstrate exemplar performance of best practice. Students were able to identify key features of a good performance to help prepare them for clinical placement. In addition to offering students the opportunity to view the mastery videos in their own time, teachers could select to use this option in class to highlight aspects of high-quality performance.

Data collection

Multiple methods of data collection were used (Table  1 ).

The study was based on a pre and post-test design, elaborated through a mixed methods research approach. Data was collected via surveys at multiple time points.

Pre-test (Survey 1): Week 2–3 of semester prior to simulation week. Post-test 1 (Survey 2): Final week of semester. Post-test 2 (Survey 3): Post clinical placement. Students completed surveys either online or paper based. Pre-test surveys included quantitative measures of knowledge (multiple choice questions), a self-reported knowledge scale (7-point Likert scale from ‘not at all knowledgeable’ to ‘extremely knowledgeable’), a motivation to learn scale (7-point Likert scale from ‘not at all motivated’ to ‘extremely motivated’), and a self-efficacy in learning scale. The self-efficacy in learning scale consisted of a range of 10–13 items with students indicating their level of confidence to perform skills for dealing with patients for each of the modules on a 5-point Likert scale from ‘not at all confident’ to ‘extremely confident’. Questions were based on the learning objectives for the Bachelor and Diploma of Nursing curriculum in relation to each topic. The items were designed collaboratively between researchers and the faculty teaching teams. They were checked for authenticity and content validity through peer review. Post-test surveys repeated these measures and added views and ratings on the learning experience (simulation or virtual reality). The items for the views on the learning experience were based on McCausland et al’s (2004) survey evaluating student experiences of simulation in undergraduate nursing [ 19 ] and used a 5-point Likert-scale from ‘strongly disagree’ to ‘strongly agree’. Post-test surveys for the VR intervention students also included the System Usability Scale (SUS). The SUS is a 10-item scale giving a global view of subjective assessments of usability using a 5-point Likert Scale [ 20 ]. The SUS has demonstrated robust psychometric properties and measured the overall usability of the VirtualU software application.

Focus group interviews

semi-structured interviews were conducted with intervention students that focused on the students’ views about their general learning experiences with Jasper VR , the lessons learnt and what could be improved.

Student clinical assessment

Students were asked to consent to using a de-identified course assessment of an Objective Structured Clinical Observation (OSCE), which they undertook at the conclusion of each semester, as a measure of the impact on clinical learning outcomes on actual performance related to specific clinical content of each module. These assessments were undertaken with simulated participants and assessments were directly aligned to the specific module content.

Economic evaluation

a cost benefit analysis was conducted to compare the cost and benefits of Jasper VR with traditional SBE. The cost of immersive, mannequin and simulated patient-based simulation was calculated per student and a comparison made.

Data analysis

Quantitative data.

Using SPSS (IBM SPSS Statistics for Windows, Version 21.0), descriptive statistics identified demographic data. The chi-squared test was used to ensure that the demographics of the intervention and control groups were sufficiently equivalent. The remainder of the quantitative analysis used inferential statistics to test for systematic differences between outcomes for the control and intervention groups, and systematic differences within the intervention groups across the three time points (for 2019 groups). This was based on the application of several quantitative instruments. Statistical controls were performed using a two-way repeated measures ANOVA.

Qualitative data

Qualitative data from the open-ended questions in the surveys were transcribed verbatim. Quantitative data were analysed and reported thematically. Themes reflected intervention participants’ accounts of their learning experience with VRS and characterised perceptions that were relevant to the research questions [ 21 , 22 ]. One researcher developed descriptive codes of the responses to each of the open-ended questions on the surveys. A different researcher reviewed the initial descriptive codes, and the two researchers discussed and finalised the thematic framework for analysis. Data management and analysis were assisted by MS Excel.

Costs were calculated according to the cost of developing and delivering traditional SBE and comparing this to the cost of developing and delivering Jasper VR [ 23 , 24 ].

The overall cohort for the comparison study comprised 675 students, from the aggregation of seven distinct teaching cohorts (Cohorts 1 to 7). Due to the COVID-19 global pandemic in 2020, the implementation of control groups and cross over groups was not able to be achieved and all students were allocated into intervention groups to receive the JasperVR learning experience. This was due to all simulations being cancelled in Semester 1, 2020. Furthermore, it was not possible to implement any Survey 3s and OSCEs in 2020 due to the overwhelming number of cancellations of clinical placements and clinical assessments for students. This resulted in 282 students in the traditional simulation control group and 393 in the VR intervention group. Table  2 describes the control and intervention groups resolved in terms of: Cohorts (1 to 7); course of study (BN or DN); Age Range (18–25 years and 26–50 + years); and Gender.

Simulation participation

Approximately 95% of students actively participated in the VR scenarios. Approximately 3–5% of students were not able to participate due to incompatible phones and therefore were transferred to the traditional simulation control group. Approximately 15% of students in the traditional simulation control group actively participated in the simulation scenarios with 85% observers, which is standard practice at the participating institute.

Knowledge test results

Pre-intervention there was nothing to suggest any systematic difference between the knowledge test results of the control group and of the intervention group. For the post-test (survey 2), 15 out of 17 t -tests returned positive results at the level of p  < 0.001, suggesting that the intervention group performed better than the control group in the knowledge test (Table  3 ).

In survey 3, there was no significant difference between the knowledge test results of the control group and of the intervention group. The results indicate that any difference in knowledge was not maintained post clinical placement.

Students’ self-perceived knowledge and motivation

The results show immediately post intervention, the intervention group’s ratings for self-perceived knowledge, motivation and preparedness for clinical placement were more positive than the control group at the p  < 0.01 level (Table  4 ). The differences between the control and interventions groups were not maintained post clinical placement.

Self-efficacy in learning

Immediately post intervention, the intervention group’s self-efficacy in learning was more positive than the control group’s for modules 3 and 4 and the p  < 0.01 level. However, differences between the intervention and control groups were not maintained post clinical placement (Table  5 ).

Analysis of OSCE data

OSCE data was obtained for 478 students (control n = 177, intervention n = 301). The Pearson Chi-Square test (c 2  = 0.267, df = 2, p  = 0.875) indicated there was no statistically significant difference between the control and intervention groups.

For Modules 1 and 2 there was no significant difference between the Mean OSCE score (as a %) for the control and intervention groups. However, for Module 3 the Mean OSCE score for the intervention group was significantly greater than that for the control group, at the p  < 0.01 level. When all three Modules were pooled together, while the OSCE score was greater for the intervention group than for the control group, the difference was not significant at the p  < 0.05 level (Table  6 ).

Views about the module (survey 2)

All t -tests comparing mean values for the control and intervention groups for views on the modules returned positive results at the level of p  < 0.01, with three of them at the level of p  < 0.001 (Table  7 ).

Qualitative analysis

Several common themes were identified across the 4 modules for intervention students’ responses on views about the learning experience with Jasper VR (Table  8 ). Students reported that they found the VRS scenarios realistic. They valued the ability to be able to practise the various scenarios multiple times to embed their learning and highlighted the importance of being able to make mistakes without fear of impacting care. The VRS scenarios were perceived to be less stressful and intimidating than the usual simulation environment. The value of developing critical thinking from the VRS scenarios was highlighted and the development of the necessary knowledge and skills to be able to manage similar situations.

While student responses were mostly positive and enthusiastic about the VR scenarios, they did express some reservations. Occasionally the VR headsets were reported to be uncomfortable to wear. Whilst some students found the VRS scenarios less intimidating than a normal simulation, a small number of students described their desire to be more physically involved, rather than watching and choosing options. A small number of students also reflected that their clinical reasoning skills would have benefitted from there being more than one correct choice of response, learning diverse ways to manage situations, or having multiple scenarios for each module. Further detail on students’ views on what they enjoyed the most and least for each module are detailed in appendix 1 .

System usability scale

The mean scores of the pooled usability scale are very complimentary of the usability of the system, particularly its ‘ease of use’ (Q3) and its property of being ‘easy to learn quickly’ (Q7) (Table  9 ).

These findings were supported by the qualitative data in the surveys. Intervention students appreciated the ability to re-visit the VR scenarios as often as they liked and in their own time:

I really enjoyed being part of Jasper VR and I felt it was a really nice way to learn the situation… best thing was I can rewatch it as many times as I want. This was a great way to complete a simulation under the circumstances and a great way to continue this in the future as we have the luxury of completing it as many times as we will.

Intervention students also found the VRS scenarios less intimidating than traditional simulation and liked the ability to be able to make mistakes and see the consequences of those choices:

I really enjoy doing VR. I find it interesting and less stressful than doing a simulation with your whole class watching you and in front of actors/actresses. I also like how you can see what would happen if you chose the wrong choice in the situation and that you can do the VR as much as you want.

Occasionally students reported difficulties with the VR headsets:

I like the way that we could revisit the SIM whenever we wanted to, but I found controlling the SIM with the headwear hard to manage.

Feasibility and economic viability of Jasper VR compared to SBE

Table  10 depicts the cost of developing and delivering the VR and SBE for both the Bachelor and Diploma of Nursing groups. The total cost of delivering a single module of Jasper VR each year was $3,350. The cost of delivering a single SBE scenario (not necessarily the same) in nursing for both courses each year was $18,670.

Our study demonstrated that VRS provided authentic and positive learning experiences for nursing students. Participants indicated that they found the VR scenarios realistic, immersive, and aided in the development of their clinical reasoning. Authenticity in VR scenarios is important for preparation for the reality of clinical practice [ 25 ]. Our outcomes also support the view that VRS can be successfully employed to teach explicit behavioural skills such as teamwork, and decision-making [ 25 , 26 ]. The VR scenarios catered for greater student numbers when compared to traditional simulation. All VRS students were fully immersed in the scenarios and able to take an active learning role the decision-making process. Jasper VR was found to be a sustainable and cost-effective alternative to SBE.

Overall, this study found VRS to effective for improving student knowledge and performance, which is supported by other studies on the effects of VRS in nursing education [ 8 , 14 , 15 , 16 , 27 ]. Several factors can increase the cognitive load in VR scenarios compared to SBE. VR learners may initially need to process a large amount of sensory information due to a highly immersive experience, engagement of multiple senses simultaneously (for example, vision and hearing), mastery of controllers to interact with the virtual environment, and understanding and navigating 3D space. Our findings also reinforce the effectiveness of immersive VRS for improved cognitive load in nursing education, and that VRS is an effective teaching tool [ 9 , 26 ].

VRS students’ OSCE scores for module 3, the patient with cognitive impairment, were significantly greater than for traditional simulation at the end of semester, although this difference was not maintained post clinical placement. For this scenario, students were particularly complimentary about the communication and collaborative skills amongst the interprofessional team and being able to practise skills such as recording the handover and assessing the patient. Active learning methods have previously been found to facilitate the development of logical reasoning [ 28 ] and reflective thinking [ 29 ]. The opportunity to perform similar skills in future VR scenarios may contribute to their further success. The significant differences in knowledge test scores between the VRS and traditional simulation groups immediately post intervention were not maintained. VR scenarios have the advantage of being available for users to access at any time point with easy repetition of scenarios, [ 30 ], and therefore VR students in may need to be reminded to re-visit these to further consolidate their learning and achieve proficiency.

Students appreciated the opportunity the VR scenarios provided to develop clinical competencies in authentic clinical experiences and see new perspectives, whilst maintaining their own safety and that of their patients [ 9 ]. VR simulations can offer a high level of realism and immersion compared to traditional SBE, with the learning process accelerated as students can experience scenarios that closely mimic real-life situations. The use of VRS in nursing education has been found to influence positive learning outcomes, such as stimulating interactivity and motivation amongst participants [ 25 , 31 , 32 ]. Sim et al. (2022) found that VRS enhances delivery of content related to patient care management (Sim et al., 2022). VR students valued access to the mastery mode to learn strategies like de-escalation techniques for dealing with an aggressive patient. Enabling VR students to practise skills through repetition, may allow them to master the skills more efficiently and achieve proficiency, versus SBE which has limitations in terms of repetition. VRS has been found to be particularly useful in situations such as dealing with aggressive patients as it protects the health professional’s safety and allows them to take a ‘trial and error’ approach to learning how to respond in these situations [ 33 ].

Whilst a small number of students highlighted a lack of interaction in the scenarios and being unable to practise the clinical skills in person, others reported the value of a fully immersive environment, such as being able to assess the deteriorating patient and recording the handover. Simulating the management of an acutely deteriorating patient has previously been successfully implemented in a nursing curriculum, with participants finding the simulation to be realistic and prepared them for clinical practice [ 34 ]. VR students also appreciated the opportunity for easy repetition of scenarios, experiencing the consequences of making wrong decisions, and the value of this for their learning. Through the VRS, nursing students could develop greater self-awareness and modify their reactions to a situation [ 33 ]. The importance of VRS for learning non-clinical skills by being able to ‘get it wrong to get it right’ was also highlighted in a study of undergraduate nursing students [ 25 ]. VR students found participating in the scenarios less intimidating than a normal simulation and appreciated the psychological safety involved in the learning [ 32 ]. This feedback echoed the findings of other VR studies that reported students using VR were less anxious than control groups when performing in the real world [ 35 , 36 ]. Students also appreciated the ability to make mistakes in the virtual environment without fear of consequences [ 32 ].

Whilst the VR scenarios provided immediate feedback to the students and allowed them to correct their mistakes in real time, some students commented that there was only one correct option in the scenarios. They felt it would be more beneficial if the scenarios allowed a greater range of choices for patient management to more reflect the real world. Another study involving a VR scenario depicting unnecessary patient demand for antibiotics from a general practitioner, also found some scepticism amongst participants that VR technology could reflect the diversity and complexity of patient responses [ 33 ]. A system of learning for health professionals that involves menu-based actions, may mean that the student does not develop critical clinical reasoning skills [ 37 ]. VR simulations can be customised to meet the needs of learners and to meet specific learning objectives, which should be considered when developing further VR scenarios.

Participants in this study were generally positive about the usability of the VR technology, which echoes the findings of other immersive VRS nursing studies [ 11 , 38 ]. Usability in terms of ease of use and users’ level of satisfaction are important characteristics of learning using virtual reality [ 7 ].

When considering the economic viability of VRS, the cost effectiveness of VR versus SBE can vary depending on several factors, including initial investment, maintenance, scalability, and accessibility. A previous study found the cost-utility ratio of virtual simulation (US$1.08) to be lower compared to mannequin-based simulation (US$3.62) [ 39 ]. In this study, the VR required significant upfront costs for software, hardware and development and was therefore more costly to develop when compared to standard SBE. This concurs with the findings of Liaw et al. (2018) who found that funding was important for the development and evaluation of virtual worlds in nursing education, due to the high outlay costs during design and development phases [ 40 ]. The VR simulations may also require ongoing software updates and maintenance costs, whilst the SBE may require periodic equipment replacement. However, our economic evaluation found the long-term delivery costs of VR to be significantly reduced due to less on campus teaching time and more independent learning for students. As reported by Pottle (2019) the costs of simulation are difficult to define, vary widely between institutions and are frequently under-reported [ 41 ]. Therefore, further studies are required which evaluate the cost effectiveness of VR compared to SBE for nursing students [ 30 ]. Our study found VR simulations required more time initially for learners to become comfortable with the technology and to set up the VR equipment, when compared to SBE. However, the virtual simulations are more scalable, allowing a larger number of students to be served simultaneously and to be used in further studies. VR simulations can be accessed remotely, offering flexibility for students, and making them more convenient for students who may not have easy access to physical simulation labs. This can save time and eliminate the need for travel, compared to SBE which usually requires students to be physically present in a specific location. As a result of COVID-19 in 2020, all learning with Jasper VR moved to remote delivery. This resulted in an even further reduction in the hours associated with briefing and debriefing.


This study focused on undergraduate students and therefore further research is required to explore its application across the healthcare professional continuum. Some students felt their clinical judgement would benefit from having additional options rather than only one correct way of doing things. In future research, students could be given the opportunity to be included in the development of scenarios to gain their perspectives. There should be repeated exposure to similar situations to gain confidence in appropriately responding in real life. Future work could focus on students’ comments related to limited opportunities for hands on work in the VR scenarios, reduced patient interactions, and how these findings translate in the clinical setting. Due to the COVID-19 global pandemic in 2020, the implementation of control groups and cross over groups was not able to be achieved and all students were allocated into intervention groups to receive the Jasper VR learning experience. This was due to all simulations being cancelled in Semester 1, 2020. Furthermore, it was not possible to implement any Survey 3s and clinical assessments in 2020 due to the overwhelming number of cancellations of clinical placements and clinical assessments for students. This resulted in many more students in the intervention group than the control group.


Through a collaborative content and software development process, a sophisticated, scalable, highly usable, and authentic learning experience was created for pre-licensure nursing students. Jasper VR enabled increased numbers of students to actively participate in an immersive simulated learning environment at their own pace, in their own time and venue. Jasper VR fostered critical thinking and decision making and provided an efficient, cost effective and sustainable platform of learning for future nursing students. The VR simulations offered advantages in terms of immersive, repeatable, and feedback-rich experiences. Jasper VR provided an efficient, cost effective and sustainable platform for learning for future nursing students.

Data Availability

The data that support the findings of this study will be available from the corresponding author, LS, upon reasonable request.

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The authors acknowledge: Swinburne University as a major collaborative partner, Karen Hall and Ronen Vansover for Project management, CurveTomorrow for software development, Ruth Callandar for VR implementation, teams of supporting clinicians that assisted in script writing of all scenarios, Michael Esler for statistical analysis, teaching staff of the Diploma and Bachelor of Nursing, and participating students.

This work was funded by a Victorian State Government Workforce Training Innovation Fund. The research was conducted independently from the funding body.

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Key EBP Nursing Topics: Enhancing Patient Results through Evidence-Based Practice


This article was written in collaboration with Christine T. and ChatGPT, our little helper developed by OpenAI.

Key EBP Nursing Topics Enhancing Patient Results through Evidence-Based Practice

Evidence-based practice (EBP) is the use of the best available evidence to inform clinical decision-making in nursing. EBP has become increasingly popular in nursing practice because it ensures that patient care is based on the most current and relevant research. In this article, we will discuss the latest evidence-based practice nursing research topics, how to choose them, and where to find EBP project ideas.

What is Evidence-Based Practice Nursing?

EBP nursing involves a cyclical process of asking clinical questions, seeking the best available evidence, critically evaluating that evidence, and then integrating it with the patient’s clinical experience and values to make informed decisions. By following this process, nurses can provide the best care for their patients and ensure that their practice is informed by the latest research.

One of the key components of EBP nursing is the critical appraisal of research evidence. Nurses must be able to evaluate the quality of studies, including study design, sample size, and statistical analysis. This requires an understanding of research methodology and the ability to apply critical thinking skills to evaluate research evidence.

EBP nursing also involves the use of clinical practice guidelines and protocols, which are evidence-based guidelines for clinical practice. These guidelines have been developed by expert groups and are based on the best available evidence. By following these guidelines, nurses can ensure that their practice is in line with the latest research and can provide the best possible care for their patients.

Finally, EBP nursing involves continuous professional development and a commitment to lifelong learning. Nurses must keep abreast of the latest research and clinical practice guidelines to ensure that their practice is informed by the latest research. This requires a commitment to ongoing learning and professional development, including attending conferences, reading scholarly articles, and participating in continuing education programs.

You can also learn more about evidence-based practice in nursing to gain a deeper understanding of the definition, stages, benefits, and challenges of implementing it.

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How to Choose Evidence-Based Practice Nursing Research Topics

Choosing a science-based topic for nursing practice can be a daunting task, especially if you are new to the field. Here are some tips to help you choose a relevant and interesting EBP topic:

  • Look for controversial or debated issues

Look for areas of nursing practice that are controversial or have conflicting evidence. These topics often have the potential to generate innovative and effective research.

  • Consider ethical issues

Consider topics related to ethical issues in nursing practice. For example, bereavement care, informed consent , and patient privacy are all ethical issues that can be explored in an EBP project.

  • Explore interdisciplinary topics

Nursing practice often involves collaboration with other health professionals such as physicians, social workers, and occupational therapists. Consider interdisciplinary topics that may be useful from a nursing perspective.

  • Consider local or regional issues

Consider topics that are relevant to your local or regional healthcare facility. These topics may be relevant to your practice and have a greater impact on patient outcomes in your community.

  • Check out the latest research

Review recent research in your area of interest to identify gaps in the literature or areas where further research is needed. This can help you develop a research question that is relevant and innovative.

With these tips in mind, you can expand your options for EBP nursing research topics and find a topic that fits your interests and goals. Remember that patient outcomes should be at the forefront of your research and choose a topic that has the potential to improve treatment and patient outcomes.

Where to Get EBP Project Ideas

There are several sources that nurses can use to get EBP project ideas. These sources are diverse and can provide valuable inspiration for research topics. By exploring these sources, nurses can find research questions that align with their interests and that address gaps in the literature. These include:

  • Clinical Practice Guidelines

Look for clinical practice guidelines developed by professional organizations or healthcare institutions. These guidelines provide evidence-based guidelines for clinical practice and can help identify areas where further research is needed.

  • Research databases

Explore research databases such as PubMed, CINAHL, and the Cochrane Library to find the latest studies and systematic reviews. These databases can help you identify gaps in the literature and areas where further research is needed.

  • Clinical Experts

Consult with clinical experts in your practice area. These experts may have insights into areas where further research is needed or may provide guidance on areas of practice that may benefit from an EBP project.

  • Quality Improvement Projects

Review quality improvement projects that have been implemented in your healthcare facility. These projects may identify areas where further research is needed or identify gaps in the literature that could be addressed in an EBP project.

  • Patient and family feedback

Consider patient and family feedback to identify areas where further research is needed. Patients and families can provide valuable information about areas of nursing practice that can be improved or that could benefit from further research.

Remember, when searching for ideas for EBP nursing research projects, it is important to consider the potential impact on patient care and outcomes. Select a topic that has the potential to improve patient outcomes and consider the feasibility of the project in terms of time, resources, and access to data. By choosing a topic that matches your interests and goals and is feasible at your institution, you can conduct a meaningful and productive EBP research project in nursing.

Nursing EBP Topics You Can Use in Your Essay

Here are some of the latest evidence-based practice nursing research topics that you can use in your essay or explore further in your own research:

  • The impact of telehealth on patient outcomes in primary care
  • The use of music therapy to manage pain in post-operative patients
  • The effectiveness of mindfulness-based stress reduction in reducing stress and anxiety in healthcare workers
  • Combating health care-associated infections: a community-based approach
  • The impact of nurse-led discharge education on readmission rates for heart failure patients
  • The use of simulation in nursing education to improve patient safety
  • The effectiveness of early mobilization in preventing post-operative complications
  • The use of aromatherapy to manage agitation in patients with dementia
  • The impact of nurse-patient communication on patient satisfaction and outcomes
  • The effectiveness of peer support in improving diabetes self-management
  • The impact of cultural competence training on patient outcomes in diverse healthcare settings
  • The use of animal-assisted therapy in managing anxiety and depression in patients with chronic illnesses
  • The effectiveness of nurse-led smoking cessation interventions in promoting smoking cessation among hospitalized patients
  • Importance of literature review in evidence-based research
  • The impact of nurse-led care transitions on hospital readmission rates for older adults
  • The effectiveness of nurse-led weight management interventions in reducing obesity rates among children and adolescents
  • The impact of medication reconciliation on medication errors and adverse drug events
  • The use of mindfulness-based interventions to manage chronic pain in older adults
  • The effectiveness of nurse-led interventions in reducing hospital-acquired infections
  • The impact of patient-centered care on patient satisfaction and outcomes
  • The use of art therapy to manage anxiety in pediatric patients undergoing medical procedures
  • Pediatric oncology: working towards better treatment through evidence-based research
  • The effectiveness of nurse-led interventions in improving medication adherence among patients with chronic illnesses
  • The impact of team-based care on patient outcomes in primary care settings
  • The use of music therapy to improve sleep quality in hospitalized patients
  • The effectiveness of nurse-led interventions in reducing falls in older adults
  • The impact of nurse-led care on maternal and infant outcomes in low-resource settings
  • The use of acupressure to manage chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting
  • The effectiveness of nurse-led interventions in promoting breastfeeding initiation and duration
  • The impact of nurse-led palliative care interventions on end-of-life care in hospice settings
  • The use of hypnotherapy to manage pain in labor and delivery
  • The effectiveness of nurse-led interventions in reducing hospital length of stay for surgical patients
  • The impact of nurse-led transitional care interventions on readmission rates for heart failure patients
  • The use of massage therapy to manage pain in hospitalized patients
  • The effectiveness of nurse-led interventions in promoting physical activity among adults with chronic illnesses
  • The impact of technology-based interventions on patient outcomes in mental health settings
  • The use of mind-body interventions to manage chronic pain in patients with fibromyalgia
  • Optimizing the clarifying diagnosis of stomach cancer
  • The effectiveness of nurse-led interventions in reducing medication errors in pediatric patients
  • The impact of nurse-led interventions on patient outcomes in long-term care settings
  • The use of aromatherapy to manage anxiety in patients undergoing cardiac catheterization
  • The effectiveness of nurse-led interventions in improving glycemic control in patients with diabetes
  • The impact of nurse-led interventions on patient outcomes in emergency department settings
  • The use of relaxation techniques to manage anxiety in patients with cancer
  • The effectiveness of nurse-led interventions in improving self-management skills among patients with heart failure
  • The impact of nurse-led interventions on patient outcomes in critical care settings
  • The use of yoga to manage symptoms in patients with multiple sclerosis
  • The effectiveness of nurse-led interventions in promoting medication safety in community settings
  • The impact of nurse-led interventions on patient outcomes in home healthcare settings
  • The role of family involvement in the rehabilitation of stroke patients
  • Assessing the effectiveness of virtual reality in pain management
  • The impact of pet therapy on mental well-being in elderly patients
  • Exploring the benefits of intermittent fasting on diabetic patients
  • The efficacy of acupuncture in managing chronic pain in cancer patients
  • Effect of laughter therapy on stress levels among healthcare professionals
  • The influence of a plant-based diet on cardiovascular health
  • Analyzing the outcomes of nurse-led cognitive behavioral therapy sessions for insomnia patients
  • The role of yoga and meditation in managing hypertension
  • Exploring the benefits of hydrotherapy in post-operative orthopedic patients
  • The impact of digital health applications on patient adherence to medications
  • Assessing the outcomes of art therapy in pediatric patients with chronic illnesses
  • The role of nutrition education in managing obesity in pediatric patients
  • Exploring the effects of nature walks on mental well-being in patients with depression
  • The impact of continuous glucose monitoring systems on glycemic control in diabetic patients

The Importance of Incorporating EBP in Nursing Education

Evidence-based practice is not just a tool for seasoned nurses; it’s a foundational skill that should be integrated early into nursing education. By doing so, students learn the mechanics of nursing and the rationale behind various interventions grounded in scientific research.

  • Bridging Theory and Practice:

Introducing EBP in the curriculum helps students bridge the gap between theoretical knowledge and clinical practice. They learn how to perform a task and why it’s done a particular way.

  • Critical Thinking:

EBP promotes critical thinking. By regularly reviewing and appraising research, students develop the ability to discern the quality and applicability of studies. This skill is invaluable in a rapidly evolving field like healthcare.

  • Lifelong Learning:

EBP instills a culture of continuous learning. It encourages nurses to regularly seek out the most recent research findings and adapt their practices accordingly.

  • Improved Patient Outcomes:

At the heart of EBP is the goal of enhanced patient care. We ensure patients receive the most effective, up-to-date care by teaching students to base their practices on evidence.

  • Professional Development:

Familiarity with EBP makes it easier for nurses to contribute to professional discussions, attend conferences, and conduct research. It elevates their professional stature and opens doors to new opportunities.

To truly prepare nursing students for the challenges of modern healthcare, it’s essential to make EBP a core part of their education.

In summary, evidence-based practice nursing is an essential component of providing quality patient care. As a nurse, it is important to stay up to date on the latest research in the field and incorporate evidence-based practices into your daily work. Choosing a research topic that aligns with your interests and addresses a gap in the literature can lead to valuable contributions to the field of nursing.

When it comes to finding EBP project ideas, there are many sources available, including professional organizations, academic journals, and healthcare conferences. By collaborating with colleagues and seeking feedback from mentors, you can refine your research question and design a study that is rigorous and relevant.

The nursing evidence-based practice topics listed above provide a starting point for further exploration and investigation. By studying the effectiveness of various nursing interventions and techniques, we can continue to improve patient outcomes and deliver better care. Ultimately, evidence-based practice nursing is about using the best available research to inform our decisions and provide the highest quality care possible to our patients.

📎 Related Articles

1. Top Nursing Research Topics for Students and Professionals 2. Nursing Debate Topics: The Importance of Discussing and Debating Nursing Issues 3. Mental Health Nursing Research Topics: Inspiring Ideas for Students 4. Top Nursing Argumentative Essay Topics: Engage in Thought-Provoking Debates 5. Top Nursing Topics for Discussion: Engaging Conversations for Healthcare Professionals 6. Exploring Controversial Issues in Nursing: Key Topics and Examples 7. Pediatric Nursing Research Topics for Students: A Comprehensive Guide

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Exploring 120+ DNP Project Ideas to Elevate Your Nursing Career

dnp project ideas

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) projects serve as the pinnacle of a nurse’s academic journey, providing a platform to delve into complex issues, make meaningful contributions to healthcare, and enhance one’s nursing practice. Selecting the right DNP project ideas are crucial, as it can significantly impact your career and the nursing profession as a whole. 

In this blog, we’ll explore a range of DNP project ideas within different categories and offer guidance on how to choose the most suitable project for your aspirations and capabilities.

How To Choose the Right DNP Project?

Table of Contents

Now that we’ve explored various DNP project ideas, it’s essential to discuss how to choose the right project for you. Here are some considerations:

  • Identify Personal Interests and Strengths: Select a project that aligns with your passion and strengths. This will not only make the project more engaging but also allow you to leverage your expertise effectively.
  • Assess Feasibility and Resources: Consider the resources required for your project, including time, funding, and access to data or facilities. Ensure that your project is feasible within the constraints of your program.
  • Consider Potential Impact: Reflect on the potential impact of your DNP project. Will it contribute to improving patient care, nursing practice, or healthcare policy? Choose a project that has the potential to make a difference.

General DNP Project Ideas Categories

DNP projects can broadly be categorized into four main areas:

Clinical Practice Improvement

Health policy and advocacy, education and training, advanced nursing research.

Let’s take a closer look at each category and some specific project ideas within them.

  • Implementing telemedicine for rural healthcare.
  • Reducing sepsis mortality through early detection.
  • Enhancing nurse-led wound care practices.
  • Improving pain management protocols.
  • Optimizing perioperative patient care.
  • Implementing patient-centered care models.
  • Streamlining medication administration processes.
  • Enhancing pediatric nursing practices.
  • Reducing falls in geriatric care.
  • Diabetes education and management programs.
  • Stroke prevention and care initiatives.
  • Nurse-led hypertension control clinics.
  • Promoting breastfeeding support in maternity wards.
  • Improving end-of-life care and communication.
  • Minimizing healthcare-associated infections.
  • Enhancing trauma care in emergency departments.
  • Implementing evidence-based fall prevention.
  • Cardiac rehabilitation program development.
  • Pain assessment in non-verbal patients.
  • Telepsychiatry for mental health support.
  • Enhancing nurse-led preoperative education.
  • Palliative care in long-term facilities.
  • Introducing innovative wound care products.
  • Falls prevention in home healthcare.
  • Nurse-managed ventilator weaning protocols.
  • Pediatric vaccination adherence programs.
  • Maternal health and prenatal care initiatives.
  • Improving seclusion and restraint practices.
  • Pediatric weight management interventions.
  • Nurse-led anticoagulation therapy clinics.
  • Medicaid expansion impact on vulnerable populations.
  • Mental health parity legislation effectiveness.
  • Healthcare access for undocumented immigrants.
  • Opioid crisis intervention policies.
  • Medicare for All and single-payer healthcare.
  • Health disparities in underserved communities.
  • Addressing vaccine hesitancy through policy.
  • Telehealth regulation and reimbursement.
  • Health equity in LGBTQ+ communities.
  • Maternal mortality reduction initiatives.
  • Medical marijuana legalization and regulation.
  • Environmental health and pollution policies.
  • Gun control and public health.
  • Healthcare workforce shortages and policy solutions.
  • Telemedicine licensure reciprocity.
  • Prescription drug pricing and affordability.
  • The role of nurse practitioners in primary care.
  • Palliative care access and policy.
  • End-of-life and advance care planning.
  • Medicare and Social Security sustainability.
  • Healthcare data privacy and security.
  • Patient rights and informed consent.
  • Public health emergency preparedness.
  • Health information exchange and interoperability.
  • Childhood obesity prevention policies.
  • E-cigarette and vaping regulations.
  • Health insurance marketplace stability.
  • Telepsychiatry and mental health access.
  • Rural healthcare access challenges.
  • Value-based care models and outcomes-based payment.
  • Online nursing education best practices.
  • Bridging the education-practice gap in nursing.
  • Enhancing clinical preceptorship programs.
  • Innovations in nursing curriculum development.
  • Cultural competency in nursing education.
  • Simulation-based training for healthcare providers.
  • Technology integration in nursing education.
  • Promoting lifelong learning for nurses.
  • Leadership development for nurse educators.
  • Interprofessional education in healthcare.
  • Evidence-based teaching strategies.
  • Competency-based education in nursing.
  • Promoting critical thinking in nursing students.
  • Promoting empathy and compassion in nursing education.
  • Curriculum design for healthcare institutions.
  • Blended learning in nursing programs.
  • Using gamification in nursing education.
  • Educating nurses on healthcare disparities.
  • Nurse educators’ professional development.
  • Strategies for teaching clinical reasoning.
  • Assessment methods in nursing education.
  • Promoting diversity in nursing programs.
  • Innovations in nurse preceptorship.
  • Online clinical training platforms.
  • Teaching resilience and self-care to nursing students.
  • Integrating cultural humility into nursing education.
  • Simulation lab design and management.
  • Student mentorship programs in nursing.
  • Teaching telehealth and eHealth skills.
  • Fostering clinical decision-making skills in nursing students.
  • The impact of nurse-patient communication on patient outcomes.
  • Nurse staffing ratios and patient safety in critical care units.
  • The effectiveness of telehealth interventions for post-operative care.
  • Barriers to implementing evidence-based practice in nursing.
  • Exploring the role of nurses in promoting organ donation.
  • The relationship between nurse burnout and patient satisfaction.
  • Patient experiences with culturally competent nursing care.
  • Strategies to reduce medication errors in pediatric nursing.
  • The use of technology in improving elder care by nurses.
  • The effects of bedside reporting on nurse-patient relationships.
  • The impact of mentorship programs on nursing career development.
  • Assessing the knowledge and practices of neonatal nurses in pain management.
  • Exploring the benefits of mindfulness training for nursing staff.
  • The role of nurses in promoting healthy lifestyles among adolescents.
  • The impact of leadership styles on nursing unit performance.
  • Strategies to improve palliative care in oncology nursing.
  • The effectiveness of fall prevention programs in geriatric nursing.
  • Analyzing the outcomes of nursing interventions in sepsis management.
  • Investigating the use of alternative therapies in pain management by nurses.
  • The role of nursing in promoting early detection of mental health issues.
  • Nurse-led initiatives to reduce hospital-acquired infections.
  • Patient satisfaction with nurse-led discharge education.
  • Exploring the challenges of providing care to diverse patient populations.
  • The impact of clinical simulation training on nursing competency.
  • Strategies to improve medication reconciliation in nursing practice.
  • The role of telemedicine in improving access to nursing care in rural areas.
  • Nurse-led interventions to enhance the care of pediatric asthma patients.
  • The use of technology in enhancing nursing documentation practices.
  • Exploring the benefits of nurse-led support groups for chronic disease patients.
  • The role of nurses in addressing domestic violence and abuse.

Tips to Select DNP Project Topics

Selecting a DNP (Doctor of Nursing Practice) project topic is a critical decision in your academic and professional journey. Your DNP project represents the culmination of your education and the opportunity to make a meaningful impact on nursing practice, patient care, and healthcare policy. Here are some essential tips to help you choose the right DNP project topic:

  • Passion and Interest: Choose a topic that genuinely interests you. Your passion for the subject will keep you motivated throughout the project’s duration.
  • Alignment with Career Goals: Consider how your DNP project can align with your long-term career goals. Selecting a project related to your desired nursing specialization or future role can enhance your career prospects.
  • Relevance to Current Healthcare Challenges: Look for topics that address current issues and challenges in healthcare. This ensures that your project’s findings have practical applications and contribute to the ongoing improvement of healthcare.
  • Feasibility: Assess the feasibility of your project. Consider the available resources, access to data, time constraints, and your ability to execute the project successfully. A project that is too ambitious or lacks necessary resources can be frustrating and less impactful.
  • Consult with Advisors and Faculty: Seek guidance from your academic advisors and faculty members. They can provide insights, recommend potential topics, and help you refine your ideas.
  • Patient-Centered Focus: DNP projects often revolve around improving patient care. Consider topics that directly impact patient outcomes, safety, satisfaction, and the overall quality of care.
  • Interdisciplinary Approach: Nursing is an interdisciplinary field. Explore topics that allow you to collaborate with professionals from other healthcare disciplines, such as medicine, psychology, or social work. Interdisciplinary projects can lead to more comprehensive solutions.
  • Policy and Advocacy: Addressing healthcare policy and advocacy issues can be highly impactful. Consider topics related to healthcare policy analysis, legislative advocacy, or addressing healthcare disparities.
  • Research Opportunities: If you have a strong interest in research, look for topics that involve original research, evidence-based practice, or data analysis. Such projects can contribute to the nursing knowledge base.
  • Education and Training: If you are passionate about education and training, explore topics related to curriculum development, nursing education programs, or clinical preceptorship.
  • Patient Populations: Focus on specific patient populations that interest you, such as pediatric, geriatric, or mental health. Tailoring your project to a particular population allows for more targeted and impactful interventions.
  • Sustainability: Consider the sustainability of your project’s outcomes. Can your interventions or recommendations be sustained and continue to benefit patients or healthcare systems in the long term?
  • Ethical Considerations: Be mindful of ethical considerations in your chosen topic. Ensure that your project adheres to ethical standards and respects patient rights and privacy.
  • Potential for Publication: If you aim to contribute to nursing literature, choose a project that has the potential for publication. Original research and innovative solutions are more likely to be published in nursing journals.
  • Practicality: Finally, select a topic that is practical and relevant to your target audience. Your DNP project should provide real-world solutions and insights that can be applied in healthcare settings.

A Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) project is a significant undertaking that can shape your nursing career and contribute to the nursing profession’s growth and development. By exploring various DNP project ideas and considering your personal interests, strengths, and available resources, you can select a project that aligns with your goals and aspirations.

Whether you choose to focus on clinical practice improvement, health policy and advocacy , education and training, or advanced nursing research, your DNP project has the potential to bring positive change to healthcare. The key is to embark on this journey with dedication and a commitment to excellence in nursing practice.

In closing, we encourage you to take your time in selecting the right DNP project and to seek guidance and mentorship from experienced nurses and faculty. Your DNP project is not just an academic requirement but a chance to leave a lasting mark on the field of nursing. Choose wisely and embrace the opportunity to elevate your nursing career.

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DNP Capstone Project

  • Understanding the Basics of a DNP Project
  • How to Develop a DNP Project Using an Evidence-Based Approach
  • Stages and Components of a DNP Project
  • DNP Project Ideas

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The Doctor of Nursing Practice DNP project represents the culmination of your doctoral studies and an opportunity for you to translate your acquired knowledge into practice. It is also the epitome of the practice-focused DNP and an essential part of the integrative practice experience. Preparing your DNP project is an exciting time, as it allows you to lay the groundwork for future scholarship while at the same time giving you a chance to make a potentially meaningful contribution to improving nursing practice and patient outcomes.

In a whitepaper published in August 2015 entitled The Doctor of Nursing Practice: Current Issues and Clarifying Recommendations , the AACN recommended that the DNP Project be referred to simply as the “DNP Project” as a way to distinguish it from final projects in other types of graduate programs. While the term DNP Project is still commonly used, it’s worth noting that schools and professional organizations are in the process of uniformly adopting the term “DNP Project.”

project nurse education

Here’s what you’ll want to know:

What is a DNP Project?

A DNP project is the umbrella term used to describe a scholarly project with the express purpose of translating evidence into practice. You may also hear it referred to as a final or research DNP project. Your DNP project will reflect your specialization/area of interest, allowing you to delve deep and create a project focused on clinical practice . You will use your DNP project to demonstrate mastery of your advanced nursing specialty.

Fortunately, given the wide breadth of clinical nursing practice, your choices for a DNP project are nearly limitless.

For example, your DNP project may be a practice portfolio that explores the impact or outcomes of nursing practice, or it may be a practice change initiative represented by a program evaluation. It may be a quality improvement project, a consulting project, or the evaluation of a new practice model. It may be a practice topic dissemination, a systemic review, or a manuscript submitted for publication—and that’s just to start.

Although DNP projects may take on various forms, depending on your college/university’s requirements and your area of advanced nursing practice, all DNP projects have three things in common: They all include planning, implementation, and evaluation components.

These components reflect the American Association of Colleges of Nursing’s (AACN) DNP Essentials, which states that a DNP project should be able to successfully integrate some or all of the following into practice:

  • Focus on a change that impacts healthcare outcomes through either direct or indirect care
  • Have a systems (micro-, meso-, or macro-level) or population/aggregate focus
  • Implement the appropriate area of practice
  • Include a plan for sustainability (e.g., financial, systems, or political realities)
  • Include an evaluation of processes and/or outcomes

All projects should be designed so that processes/outcomes can be evaluated to guide practice and policy, and all should provide a foundation for future practice scholarship.

What is the Purpose of the DNP Project?

The goal of the DNP project is to inform the methods you will use to deliver care and educate others in your chosen population/community. You will use the DNP project to demonstrate your ability to lead and practice at the highest level of clinical nursing practice.

You will be asked to integrate a number of skills into your final project:

  • Expertise in reflective practice
  • Expertise in your area of interest
  • Independent practice inquiry (identifying existing problems/needs in nursing practice and/or healthcare systems)
  • The ability to evaluate, translate, and use research and evidence to improve health and quality of care outcomes
  • Organizational and systems leadership skills (developing, implementing, and evaluating interventions to improve outcomes for diverse populations and/or communities)
  • Knowledge of advanced healthcare policy, ethics, and law to develop a population-based program based on the best available and current evidence

Back to Top

This is your time to shine, so don’t let the task of choosing a DNP project stress you out.

Using your area of clinical expertise as a springboard, develop your project using an evidence-based process:

  • Formulate a well-developed question: Describe an innovation or clinical inquiry; identify a problem/issue
  • Review the literature to identify evidence-based resources that answer your question: Apply the best evidence from literature
  • Assess the validity of your resources using evidence: Collect data using standard and acceptable methods/tools
  • Apply that evidence: Define outcomes to be measured upon implementation
  • Implement outcomes and/or analyze results: Re-evaluate the application and identify areas for improvement

An example of how one DNP student followed this 5-step evidence-based process to develop a change project with the goal of increasing vaccination among healthcare personnel working in a college:

Step 1. A change project was initiated to increase influenza vaccination among healthcare personnel at a college

Step 2. Barriers to vaccination as well as factors that would help facilitate vaccination were identified using a pre-intervention questionnaire survey

Step 3. Interventions were planned based on the findings of the pre-intervention questionnaire survey

Step 4. Interventions were implemented

Step 5. The effectiveness of the interventions was assessed through a post-intervention survey

An example of how one DNP student followed this 5-step evidence-based process to develop a quality improvement project with the goal of reducing delays in treatment for patients with hand trauma:

Step 1. A quality improvement project was initiated to avoid delays in care for patients with hand trauma

Step 2. Over 2,000 consultations and notes from emergency room and urgent care departments were reviewed to assess adherence to guidelines for treating hand trauma

Step 3. Factors associated with a lack of adherence to treatment guidelines were identified

Step 5. Outcomes were assessed

Questions to Ask

One of the best ways to ensure your DNP project accomplishes your objectives is to ask yourself questions to make sure the project meets the required standards:

  • Does my project focus on individuals, communities, populations, and/or systems?
  • What problems/issues will my project address?
  • Is my DNP project grounded in clinical practice? Will it solve problems or directly inform my practice?
  • Will my project demonstrate mastery of DNP competencies achieved through my doctoral education?
  • Is my project supported by evidence provided through existing literature?
  • Does my project address outcomes associated with patients and healthcare?
  • Does my project provide a foundation for future scholarship in nursing?
  • Executive summary of the project
  • Introduction to the project
  • Description of the problem, how it is defined, and the clinical setting/environment and target environment
  • Data supporting the existence of the problem
  • Description of the creative approach to resolving the problem

The steps required to complete a DNP project will also vary somewhat from one program to the next. Generally speaking, DNP projects include the following stages:

  • Student identifies a focus area for the DNP project.
  • A Capstone Chairperson is selected based on mutual agreement of the student and faculty member and the clinical/scholarly interests and area of expertise of the faculty member. Note: Careful selection of a capstone chairperson is important, as the student and chairperson will develop a plan of study and work closely throughout the process .
  • Student selects a Capstone Committee (usually includes at least three faculty members, one of whom is the Capstone Chairperson).
  • Student earns eligibility to defend the capstone proposal (the proposal must be formally approved by all Committee members).
  • Student works with Capstone Chairperson to develop the proposal, using the Committee in an advisory capacity, as needed.
  • Student prepares and distributes the proposal defense to the Committee members.
  • Student arranges a meeting of the Committee to discuss the proposal and to rule on its acceptability (Committee members ensure the proposal’s feasibility, clinical relevance, and quality.).
  • Upon acceptance of the proposal, the student begins the process of implementing the DNP project (must receive administrative approval for all steps of the project).
  • Student schedules the final defense of the DNP project upon completing the written project and upon getting approval from the Capstone Chairperson.
  • Student distributes the final copy to the Committee members and prepares for the oral defense of the DNP project.
  • Committee members critique the project, identify any changes or additional work to be done, and determine the outcome of the DNP project defense.
  • Smoking Cessation Program for Patients with Coronary Artery Disease
  • Safe Foot Care in African American Type 2 Diabetes
  • A Community Based Approach to Promoting Nutritional Awareness and Improving Dietary Habits
  • Standardized Procedure for Assessment and Documentation of Pain in Long-Term Care
  • Evidence-Based Practice Update for Nurse Practitioners in Urgent Care
  • Strategies to Improve Patient Flow in an Urgent Care Facility
  • Empowering Community Health: A Faith-Based Approach
  • A Medication Safety Education Program to Reduce the Risk of Harm Caused by Medication Errors
  • Integrated Model of Dementia Care in a Nursing Home
  • An Evaluation of a School-Based Asthma Protocol
  • A Strategy to Reduce Distress Among Isolated Blood and Marrow Transplant Patients Post-Transplantation
  • An Evidence-Based Toolkit to Prevent Meningococcal Meningitis in College Students
  • An Evidence-Based Ovarian Cancer Education Toolkit: A Pilot Study
  • Consequences, Prevention, and Treatment of Childhood Overweight and Obesity
  • Prevalence of Symptoms in Multiple Sclerosis Patients
  • Obesity Prevention in Young Children
  • Predictors of the First-Year Nursing Student at Risk for Early Departure
  • The Predictive Value of Second Trimester Blood Pressures on the Development of Preeclampsia
  • Nursing Informatics Certification and Competencies: A Report on the Current State and Recommendations for the Future
  • Development of a Web-Based Health Information Database and Call Center
  • Translation of Autism Screening Research into Practice
  • Effectiveness of Chronic Disease Self-Management Programs for Mentally Ill Inmates with Diabetes
  • Optimizing Inpatient Heart Failure Education to Support Self-Care After Discharge
  • Strategic Plan for a Patient-Centered Medical Home Adaptation
  • Development of a Virtual Nursing Learning Lounge to Bridge the Practice Gap
  • Leadership, Advocacy, and Policy: Development of a Professional Organization for Doctors of Nursing Practice
  • Media Influence on Nutritional Choices in School-Age Children
  • Interdisciplinary Simulation Training for Evidence-Based Obstetric Crisis Management
  • A Web-Based Group Intervention for Patients with Recurrent or Metastatic Pancreatic Cancer
  • Evaluation of Pain Management Practices Among Laboring Women
  • A Multi-Method Approach to Evaluating Online Distance Learning in Nursing Education
  • Effects of Health Education on Nutrition and Physical Activity of School Children
  • Clinical-Academic Partnership Education and Socialization into the Nursing Role
  • Development of a Strategic Plan for a Dedicated Education Unit and Clinical Teaching Associate Role
  • A Strategic Plan for Promoting Health in the Hispanic/Latino Population through Internet-Based Social Networks
  • A Criterion-Based Job Description and Performance Assessment for the Advanced Practice Nurse
  • A Strategic Plan for the Development of an Inpatient Hospice Program
  • Deploying a Geriatric Nurse Practitioner in an Emergency Department to Improve Outcomes for Geriatric Patients
  • Implementing Evidence-Based Practice in an Acute-Care Hospital
  • A Strategic Plan for the Development of a Model of Care for HIV Co-Infected Diabetics in an Inner-City Clinic
  • Implementation of Routine HIV Testing for the Hospitalized Patient
  • Development of an Evidence-Based, In-Patient Alcohol Detoxification Guideline for Culturally Diverse Adults
  • Conducting a Randomized Household Survey in an Underserved Urban Community
  • Fall Prevention in the Medical Surgical Setting
  • A Comprehensive Systematic Review of the Influence of Transformational Leadership Style on Nursing Staff in Acute Care Hospitals

Education Corner

How to Study Nursing

Photo of author

Nursing school may not be medical school, but there’s no question it’s challenging. In fact, for students managing a job, personal life and their nursing studies all at the same time, the challenge may seem insurmountable.

How are you supposed to read all those chapters, attend labs, take notes, prepare for exams and remember everything you’re learning while still maintaining some semblance of a normal life? It’s hard, but it’s also possible. The key is to study smarter, not harder.

Below we’ll explore proven study tips and strategies that will not only help you improve your performance in your nursing program, but help make life a little more enjoyable too.

Study daily.

A fatal mistake many nursing students make is to leave their studies to the weekend, or procrastinate until exam time. There is no place for procrastination in nursing school. You can’t cram a weeks worth of studies into just a few hours, or wait until the end of the semester and expect to learn everything you need to know to pass your nursing exam. A key to excelling in nursing school is to study every day and stay caught up. Studying just a little every day is key to success in nursing school.

Time management.

One of the biggest obstacles of success for nursing students is poor time management. Effective time management is essential to succeed in nursing school. Nursing students who struggle with managing their time, and prioritizing, struggle. The most important aspect of effective time management is setting a schedule and sticking to it.

At the beginning of each semester review your nursing syllabi for important dates, including assignment deadlines, clinical hours and exams. Once you’ve identified all important dates, use a planning device (calendar, phone, etc.) to keep track of these dates. Not writing down important dates at the beginning of each semester is a recipe for disaster.

Now create a monthly and weekly schedule that includes the tasks, milestones and goals for preparing for each of these dates. At the beginning of each week, plan your week identifying what you need to accomplish daily in order to meet your weekly goals. For more information on effective time management read Using Time Management to Improve Study Skills. .

Study the right material.

There aren’t enough hours in the day to cover in depth all the material you’ll be assigned to read and study as a nursing student. Part of your job is to determine what material is most important and where you’re going to focus your study time.

We recommend paying close attention to the topics your instructor covers in class. The topics your instructor focuses on, and the key points emphasized during lecture, is where you should focus the bulk of your study.

Focus on critical thinking, not memorization.

You’re going to be required to learn and memorize a lot of information as a nursing student, but don’t get distracted from the most important skill you need, and should be developing – Critical Thinking.

Nursing programs and exams are designed to force students to develop and use critical thinking skills . Facts and data are useful, but they won’t enable you to evaluate a patient’s unique condition and situation. The goal of critical thinking as a nursing student should be:

  • Goal-directed thinking with a purpose
  • Oriented toward making evidence-based judgements rather than relying on opinion-based guesswork

Most nursing exams use case-based or application-based questions. These types of questions are commonly referred to by nursing students as “NCLEX style” questions. Typically, these questions employ a multiple choice format with four answer options, as shown in the NCLEX Question trainer examples below.

NCLEX question trainer explanations

NCLEX style questions can be challenging because all of the answers presented technically may be correct. However, not all answers are equal. You must select the answer that best answers the question based on the information provided.

Often, selecting the best answer relies more on critical thinking and common sense than it does on knowledge of facts and information. Critical thinking in nursing school, and as a nurse, will require you to:

  • Base judgements on reasoning and facts
  • Support your opinions with evidence
  • Evaluate the credibility of sources
  • Think critically – ask “why” and “why not”?
  • Turn failures into learning opportunities
  • Look for patterns and themes
  • Develop evidence-based hunches

What is the best way to develop critical thinking skills? Repetition and practice. So attend class, do all your homework and exercises, and stay involved in the learning process.

Think about the application of what you’re learning.

Becoming a nurse is much more than just acquiring medical knowledge and facts. Your patients aren’t going to care what you know, they’re going to care how you can help make them feel better. As you study different health conditions and explore human physiology, always ask yourself how you’re going to apply what you’re learning to help your patients become healthier.

Think about how you would discuss each condition you study with a prospective patient. Do this and you’ll not only become a better nursing student, but a better nurse.

Skim first. Read second.

Nursing school requires a lot of learning. And much of what you learn is going to come from reading. To facilitate learning through reading, skim each chapter of your textbook before reading the entire chapter. As you skim the chapter, try to get a sense of the main themes and topics being covered.

Read the chapter headings and subheadings. Review the chapter summary and any end of chapter questions. Try to determine what information is most important and then go back and read the entire chapter with purpose.

Discover your learning style.

A key to effective learning is discovering your learning style. Everyone has different learning preferences that benefit them. Some students have a dominant learning style. This means they learn best when they acquire information in a specific way. For example, some students learn best through seeing (visual learners).

Others learn best through listening (auditory learners). And some students learn best through hands-on, tactile interaction (kinesthetic learners). If you learn best by writing out your class notes, then you may be a kinesthetic learner. Discovering your learning style will help you structure your study of nursing in a way to provide optimal efficiency and effectiveness. You learn about the seven learning styles by reading Discover Your Learning Style .

Form a study group

There are numerous advantages to forming a study group, but the No.1 reason to use a study group is that studying with others facilitates learning. Studies show that when students study with other students they retain significantly more information than through listening to class lectures or reading a textbook.

Study groups provide the opportunity for each group member to teach what they’ve learned to the other group member – and there really isn’t a more effective way to learn something than by teaching it to others. To discover all the benefits study groups can provide and learn how to form an effective study group, read Using Study Groups .

Study in systems.

Nursing students tend to study by health condition. For example, they’ll study six health conditions from three different systems. We recommend studying by system.

The advantage of studying by system, as opposed to condition, is (1) it saves time and energy to group everything for each system together for review and (2) medical and nursing management usually follow a similar treatment route, hence, studying by system prevents you from over-studying.

When studying pharmacology, the same reasoning applies. Study drugs according to their purpose as they related to individual body systems.

Include study breaks in your studying.

Your brain starts to become overloaded with information after about an hour or so of studying. Continuing to study after your brain is full is ineffective. Studying for 3 or more hours at a time without taking a break is not the best way to retain information.

The most effective studying occurs during short 45 to 60 minute study sessions with breaks in between. When you take a break, actually get up from where you’re studying and participate in some other activity for at least 10 minutes. This will allow your brain to decompress and prepare to learn and absorb more information.

Vary your study materials and methods.

Varying your study materials and methods will improve your ability to retain and recall what you study and learn. Most students only remember about 10% of what they read from a textbook. However, students who are able to teach material or concepts to others effectively, retain about 90% of what they’ve learned through teaching others.

The evidence is clear, varying your study method, as demonstrated in the Learning Pyramid below, will lead to much stronger and long-term learning.

The learning pyramid

Learn more about the real value of The Learning Pyramid .

Orient your study to the NCLEX

Not everything you’ll need to know as a nurse is found on the NCLEX exam, but if you orient your study toward the NCLEX, you’ll be better prepared come test day. The NCLEX requires a great deal of preparation so we highly recommend not putting off preparing for the NCLEX until graduation. Incorporate NCLEX preparation into your regular study throughout your schooling.

Read also: – Test Taking Strategies for Nursing Students

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The pivotal Role of nurses in education and health

Posted: December 7, 2023 | Last updated: December 6, 2023

In the Philippines, as in many other parts of the world, education stands out as the most potent determinant of health. The interplay between these two factors is undeniable. Access to quality education equips individuals with the knowledge and skills they need to make informed choices about their health. It instills an understanding of the importance of nutrition, exercise, and overall well-being. Furthermore, education plays a pivotal role in enhancing socioeconomic status, which, in turn, directly impacts health outcomes. The connection between education, income, and health is a cycle that empowers individuals to break free from the shackles of poverty and improve their quality of life. Within this context, school nurses emerge as central figures in nurturing the link between health and education. Their role transcends conventional health care; they are advocates for student well-being, offering a lifeline for students and their families. School nurses are the first line of defense, identifying early signs of potential health issues, addressing mental health concerns, and managing chronic conditions. These services are indispensable in a country with limited comprehensive health-care resources. However, the Philippine scenario presents unique challenges for school nurses. The issue of inadequate funding and disparities in resource allocation often results in understaffed clinics and limited access to essential resources. These challenges directly impact the quality of care and pose significant barriers to student well-being. Bridging these gaps and ensuring stable funding for school nurses are essential for nurturing the health-education relationship. Our article points out an alarming issue of disparities in students’ access to school nurses, primarily rooted in geography and distribution. School nurses are predominantly concentrated in urban areas, leaving rural areas with inadequate access to nursing care. This situation is concerning, given that rural communities are more likely to be designated as medically underserved areas with limited access to primary health-care providers. In many rural settings, the school nurse may be the only health-care provider children see yearly. A national policy is imperative to address these disparities and ensure a stable funding mechanism for school nurses. Adequate funding for school health and nurses is vital for elevating school nursing salaries, attracting professionals to the specialty, and ensuring that full-time nursing services are available to all children in all our communities. This policy should emphasize the need to close the health disparity gap and provide equitable access to school nursing services. Despite the evident importance of school nurses in The pivotal Role of nurses in education and health

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School of Nursing launches new graduate degree tracks

The College of Health Sciences’ School of Nursing recently launched additional Doctor of Nursing Practice degree tracks as part of their graduate education offerings. The school adapted its graduate program offerings to give students more flexibility and more options – such as the highly-demanded Family Nurse Practitioner specialty.

Nurses can apply whether they hold a bachelor’s or master’s degree, and they can choose to study full or part-time starting in the fall or spring semesters. Upon graduation, they will be prepared to take their nurse practitioner certification exam; Boise State currently boasts a 99% pass rate on the first attempt.

A nurse practitioner student practices giving a joint injection while their professor looks on.

The new tracks are designed to save students time and money. Full-time bachelor’s-prepared students can earn their doctorate in as few as three years. For nurses who already hold an advanced practice degree – like nurse practitioners, anesthetists or midwives – there is also a new post-master’s track to their doctorate.

“In June 2022, the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties released revised core competencies for nurse practitioner programs, which are specific to preparing students at the doctoral level,” said Amy Spurlock, chief nurse administrator at the School of Nursing. “Achieving these competencies means graduates remain competitive in the job market as well as prepared to meet the health needs of their patients.”

These new tracks are also part of Boise State’s response to the growing healthcare provider shortage . While a common problem across the nation, it’s particularly concerning for a rural state like Idaho . Nurse practitioners are part of the solution , so Boise State’s tracks streamline the educational process and allow highly-skilled practitioners to enter the field quickly.

A nurse in a white coat stands at the nurse's station and talks with a woman in a blazer.

“Boise State is answering the governor’s call to increase Idahoan’s access to primary care,” said Nicole Loos-Bartlett, current director of the Adult Gerontology Nurse Practitioner program. “The implementation of the FNP track will help to ensure Idahoans have greater access to primary and specialized care. Graduates of Boise State’s nurse practitioner programs will be doctorally prepared and enabled to deliver high-quality and competent healthcare, which the community has often associated with Boise State alumni.”

Courses in the new tracks will be delivered primarily online with two on-campus intensive sessions. In addition to top-tier clinical skills, the curriculum emphasizes innovation and transformation through evidence-based practices in any sphere of nursing.

Apply now and join the first cohort beginning fall 2024; priority applications are due July 1. For more information, visit the school’s website .

Learn more about the new tracks

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