Nursing capstone projects are the culminating academic experience for students in Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) programs, allowing students to demonstrate their knowledge and clinical skills. The capstone project involves conducting a scholarly project on a nursing topic of the student’s choice, with faculty approval and oversight. Through the capstone project, students integrate and apply what they have learned throughout their nursing education.
Once students complete their nursing capstone projects, which usually involve conducting a literature review, developing a proposal, implementing the project, collecting and analyzing data, and writing a final paper, they are required to formally present their findings to faculty and peers. Here are the typical steps nursing students follow to present their capstone project findings:
Students first submit an abstract of 150-250 words to nursing program administrators 4-6 weeks before the planned presentation date. The abstract provides an overview of the background, purpose, methods, results, and conclusions of the project. Administrators review the abstracts and work with students to schedule oral presentations. Abstracts are also often published in the nursing program’s annual research journal or compilation of student works.
Students are required to develop a formal oral presentation, typically 15-20 minutes in length with an additional 5-10 minutes allotted for questions. Presentations are usually given in a classroom setting with other nursing students, faculty, and some invited guests such as hospital administrators in attendance. Students dress professionally as they would for a job interview.
Presentations begin with an introduction that includes the student’s name and title of the project. The introduction provides background on the topic and states the specific purpose and aims of the project. Students then explain the significance of the project and its relevance to nursing practice or research.
Next, students thoroughly describe the methods used, including design, sample, setting, data collection procedures, and how the data was analyzed. Ethics approval or exemption is also acknowledged. Students ensure their methodologies are clearly explained and could be replicated. Visual aids such as tables, charts, graphs, and PowerPoint slides are typically used to highlight key aspects of the methods.
Students then present the main findings of the project, including both quantitative and qualitative results. Findings are objectively reported and directly linked back to the stated aims and research questions. Appropriate statistical analyses are explained for quantitative results. Direct quotes may be used to report qualitative findings. Again, results are visually displayed and easy to comprehend.
In the discussion section, students analyze and interpret the results, linking them back to existing evidence and theories discussed in the literature review. Study limitations are acknowledged and recommendations for nursing practice, education, and future research are proposed. Conclusions are stated which summarize how the project aims were addressed.
Students conclude by highlighting how the project contributed new knowledge to nursing and reinforced their role as beginning nurse-researchers. They thank faculty, preceptors, participants, and attendees. Presentations end within the allotted time period.
Following the presentation, students actively field questions from the audience for 5-10 minutes. Questions cover all aspects of the project and allow students to display deeper knowledge. Faculty provide feedback to strengthen any areas of weakness identified.
Clear and professionally delivered oral presentations of nursing capstone projects allow students to gain experience disseminating research findings and formally communicating their work. They help students develop self-assurance as future nursing professionals and members of an evidence-based practice discipline.
Nursing capstone projects and their oral presentations serve as a culminating academic experience for BSN students to demonstrate research and presentation abilities. Through rigorous planning and delivery, students effectively share new knowledge gained with peers and faculty in a scholarly forum. Presentations help advance nursing as an applied science.