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One of the major challenges students may encounter is coordinating their capstone project with surgical schedules and procedures. Operating rooms have very tight schedules to maximize efficiency and see as many patients as possible. Surgical teams are focused on providing care to patients and do not have extra time available. Students would need to work closely with surgeons, administrators, and schedulers to find opportunities to observe procedures and gather needed data or materials for their projects without disrupting clinical care. Additional scheduling challenges could occur if a student’s project requires observing multiple similar procedures over time to track outcomes or collect enough samples for quantitative analysis. Organizing many return trips to the operating room may be difficult to coordinate with surgeons’ schedules.

Related to scheduling challenges is the issue of surgical delays. Any delays or unexpected extensions to a surgical case could impact a student’s ability to complete what they need to for their capstone project during that planned procedure. Operating rooms need to keep to schedule to avoid downstream delays and maintain throughput of patients. Students would have to understand that their projects cannot be allowed to cause delays, even minor ones, and may need alternate plans depending on how cases proceed. Having redundancy planned or an understanding that scheduling multiple observation opportunities may be needed is important. Communication with teams about expectations around delays is important to address this challenge.

Another key challenge involves ensuring projects do not compromise sterility or disrupt the flow of the surgical environment. Operating rooms have strict protocols around maintaining sterility and established workflows that everyone in the OR must follow. A student’s project data collection, equipment needs, or activities could potentially breach sterility or disrupt the work if not carefully planned. Students may find it difficult to gather some types of data or materials without impacting the sterile field. Capstone projects would need to be designed carefully with input from clinical experts to identify what can be reasonably collected or implemented given sterility and workflow constraints. Students would also need education on OR sterile technique and policies to conduct themselves appropriately.

A further complication could arise from the need to obtain informed consent from surgical patients or providers to be involved in students’ research projects. Patients rightly expect their care to be handled by licensed clinical experts, not trainees. Ensuring patient safety and comfort, obtaining valid consent, and avoiding any perception that projects might influence medical decision making are important complex challenges. Capacity constraints may also impact how many patients can reasonably be recruited within a student’s timeline. Navigating ethical approval processes and addressing concerns about added workload or liability for clinical teams could prove difficult. Strong faculty oversight may be needed to address human subjects challenges.

Medical equipment availability could pose another hurdle. Operating rooms are equipped for surgery, not necessarily student projects. If projects require specialized equipment, instrumentation, or technologies beyond standard OR setups, obtaining access and ensuring proper training for use may be an obstacle. Equipment may need to be procured, sterilized, and stored appropriately which takes extra resources. Storage space is also limited, and equipment cannot interfere with the sterile field. Finding ways to incorporate student project needs within existing OR constraints and resources requires creative planning.

Students themselves may have steep learning curves when it comes to the clinical environment, timescale expectations, and navigating healthcare systems. Students are not familiar with the realities of fast-paced clinical practice and may underestimate the level of coordination and collaboration required with busy surgical teams. Academic timelines may not align well with realities of project recruitment, data collection periods, or dissemination expectations in healthcare. Learning hospital procedures like OR access, patient privacy and consent rules, IRB processes, and interacting with staff, administrators and providers takes time and support. Ensuring realistic scope, strong guidance, feedback and troubleshooting help for students is important to address challenges of the healthcare climate they are less familiar with.

There are meaningful logistical, ethical, and systems-based challenges students may encounter when taking capstone work into the operating room. With meticulous planning, oversight, clear contingencies, additional guidance as needed and flexibility on all sides, many of these barriers can be navigated. Early coordination and understanding of OR constraints is key. With the right preparation and support structure, surgical environments could provide rich opportunities for valuable translational student work despite inherent complexities.


One of the biggest challenges is managing project complexity. Power electronics systems often involve integrating multiple electrical and electronic components together. This requires understanding concepts from various disciplines like circuit design, control systems, signal processing, thermal management, and electromagnetic compatibility. The complexity can be overwhelming for students who are exposed to these topics for the first time in a capstone project. To address this, students need to break down the overall system into well-defined subsystems and modules. They should identify key components and interfaces upfront and design the subsystems to integrate seamlessly. Establishing clear communication among team members is also important to properly coordinate the interdependent tasks.

Another major challenge is ensuring hardware and system reliability. Power electronics deals with transferring and controlling electric power, so safety and reliability are critical. Students may face issues like components overheating, short circuits, electromagnetic interference, inaccurate sensing, or unstable control loops during testing. Thorough simulation, prototyping, and review processes need to be established before live experiments to catch and address reliability problems early. Safety protocols must also be developed and followed diligently during hardware testing and demonstration. Proper documentation of designs, hardware schematics, software/firmware code, test plans and results help future users replicate and build upon the work.

Selecting appropriate components within design constraints can also be difficult. Power electronics often requires specialized high power semiconductors, EMI filters, sensors, actuators etc. Students need to carefully consider technical specifications, costs, availability and long term support while selecting these components. Overly complex or unproven designs should be avoided. Commercial-off-the-shelf components are preferable over custom designs when possible. Working closely with industry advisors helps expand component knowledge and get feedback on design selections.

Managing project scope and schedule are perennial challenges, especially if working with strict academic timelines. Unrealistic scopes lead to rushed, half-baked implementations while gold-plating features undermines the learning experience. Early definition of clear goals, deliverables and prioritization help ensure substantive progress within constrained time periods. Tracking tasks, assigning ownership, setting milestones and conducting periodic reviews keep projects on schedule. Iteratively developing and testing subsystems prevents last minute problems. Good documentation enhances reproducibility and transition of work.

Prototyping on hardware often exposes unexpected issues that disrupt schedules. Troubleshooting hardware/software bugs taxes limited student resources and time. Extensive simulation and bench testing before live experiments reduces bugs. Having industry mentorship aids quick issue diagnosis. Keeping prototypes simple yet representative allows iterative refinement. Modular designs facilitate component swap outs without rework. Keeping design options open through early prototyping prevents corner cutting later. Maintaining organized lab spaces, tools and test fixtures eases troubleshooting.

Effectively communicating complex technical work to diverse audiences tests communication skills. Concisely conveying abstract concepts, articulating assumptions, explaining trade-offs and critical analysis requires practice. Students need experience communicating clearly through documentation, demonstration, presentations and publications targeted for faculty, industry panels, and wider audiences. Advisor feedback helps polish these skills which are invaluable for future careers. Practicing simplified yet accurate explanations is key.

These are some of the major challenges students may experience in power electronics capstone projects. Proper planning, systematic implementation, peer-collaboration, mentor guidance and refinement through iterations help overcome these hurdles and yield substantive learning outcomes. The experience exposes students to practical engineering issues beyond textbooks, better preparing them for careers in this growing industry. Power electronics projects provide rich opportunities for hands-on applications of technical knowledge while developing vital professional skills.


One major challenge is selecting an appropriate topic for the capstone project. Nursing students have a wide range of clinical areas and patient populations they could explore. It’s important to pick a topic that is interesting to the student but also has relevance to current nursing practice. Students should consider topics where they may be able to collect meaningful data rather than choose something too broad or vague. Speaking to nursing instructors, medical staff, and conducting preliminary research can help identify suitable options.

Once a topic is chosen, a second challenge is developing rigorous and achievable research questions or project aims and objectives. Nursing research questions should be realistic yet address a clear evidence gap or area for quality improvement. Objectives need to be specific, measurable, and attainable within the allotted timeframe. Students may struggle with formulating tightly focused questions or aims that can realistically be explored within the scope of a capstone project. Working closely with capstone supervisors and requesting multiple rounds of feedback on research questions can help refine their scope.

Gaining the necessary approvals from institutions to conduct research on human subjects is another hurdle nursing students may face. For projects involving collection of primary data from patients, gaining ethics approval can be time-consuming. Late applications risk delays in being able to start the data collection phase on time. To avoid this issue, students must allow adequate time for ethics review and be prepared to modify their protocols based on reviewer feedback. It also helps to consult with supervisors who are familiar with local research ethics processes.

Recruiting sufficient participants who meet eligibility criteria can pose challenges, especially if relying on voluntary recruitment through posters or referrals. Low recruitment may threaten the validity and generalizability of findings. This is more likely for niche topics with small populations. Contingency plans should be made for alternative recruitment strategies or broader inclusion criteria if needed. Pilot testing promotional materials can give students insight into anticipated recruitment rates.

Students may find synthesizing and analyzing data from multiple sources difficult without prior experience or training in research methodologies. Interpreting statistical or qualitative findings responsibly requires an understanding of the assumptions, limitations, and potential for bias in different methodological approaches. Seeking statistical or qualitative data analysis assistance from expert resources on campus can help ensure rigour. Professors and librarians can also guide students on techniques for critically appraising existing literature.

Another common hurdle is time management. Capstone projects have firm deadlines but unforeseen delays are inevitable. Effective planning with buffers, regular supervision meetings, and dividing work into sub-tasks are vital for staying on schedule. Students should identify potential time sinks early, such as developing protocols or obtaining approvals, and work on these first. Strict self-discipline is needed to balance coursework with project responsibilities. Learning to say “no” to unnecessary commitments preserves focus on the capstone.

Presenting research findings confidently is a challenge for many students. Opportunities to practice poster or oral presentations throughout the capstone process, such as at nursing conferences, improve presentation skillswell before the final defense. Students should practice emphasizing key takeaways clearly and fielding questions from different audiences. Peer review of one’s presentation style provides honesty needed to enhance communication impact.

Nursing students will face various expected challenges when conducting independent capstone research projects. With early and thorough planning, seeking guidance from supervisors and resources, contingency planning for delays, disciplined time management, and practice presenting, students can successfully overcome hurdles to complete rigorous and meaningful research. The capstone experience equips new nurses with transferable skills in evidence-based practice, research methodology, project management, critical thinking, and communication.


One of the biggest challenges students face is properly defining the scope of their project. Capstone projects are meant to be ambitious culmination of a student’s learning, but it’s easy for the scope to become too large. This can lead to students feeling overwhelmed, stressed, and unable to complete the project on time. When first developing their project idea, students should thoroughly discuss their topic with their capstone advisor to define explicit goals and ensure the scope is realistic for a semester-long endeavor. The scope can be narrowed down or expanded as needed through ongoing advisor consultations.

Related to scope, students also struggle with effective project planning. Without clear task definitions and timelines, it’s difficult for work to stay on track. Students should break their project down into specific action items with estimated time frames. They can create detailed Gantt charts or kanban boards to map out workflows and monitor progress. Setting interim deadlines, not just a final due date, helps ensure students don’t fall behind in their planning. Advisors can provide guidance on solidifying project plans and time management strategies.

Securing necessary resources and finding community support can pose another challenge. Capstone projects may require specific equipment, software, or funding that students don’t have access to independently. They must coordinate early with their university, community partners, or external organizations to secure what’s needed for their projects. Finding dedicated mentors or subject matter experts to consult on technical aspects of projects can also be difficult without guidance. Advisors can connect students to campus resources and potential resources in the community.

Experimentation failures are common during any research project and can derail momentum. Students need to build in time for troubleshooting unexpected issues in their planning. They also must learn to view setbacks or failed experiments as learning opportunities, not personal failures. Having periodic check-ins scheduled with advisors allows students to confidently troubleshoot problems as soon as they arise, before falling too far behind. Advisors can remind students of the iterative nature of research and encourage them during challenging periods.

Group work dynamics also pose hurdles if students are completing capstone projects collaboratively. Conflicting schedules, differing work ethics, and lack of clear role definitions within groups often cause friction. Upfront discussion on setting group norms, consensus decision making, deadlines, and conflict resolution is important for functional teams. Using project management tools for task tracking and communication helps groups stay organized. Advisors can mediate any issues arising between group members and ensure equitable work distribution.

Procrastination also commonly plagues students undertaking long-term independent work. Without external pressures like classes or exams, it’s easy to delay starting or consistently working on capstone write ups, data collection, or presentations. Students must internally motivate themselves through passion for their topics. Setting personal, process-oriented deadlines and rewarding small wins helps combat procrastination habits. Advisors check-ins provide needed accountability.

Presenting research findings confidently is another obstacle, as public speaking anxiety is common. Students should practice presentations multiple times with peers or advisors for feedback prior to target deadlines. They can learn breathing techniques and rehearse dynamically engaging an audience. Advisors can suggest additional campus resources for presentation coaching if needed.

Significant challenges encompass scope definition, project planning, resource securing, experimental troubleshooting, group collaboration, procrastination, and presentation skills. With thorough advising guidance and strong self-management habits, students can overcome these hurdles intrinsic to any independent research project. Proactively addressing potential issues through contingency planning and periodic advisor check-ins sets capstone students up for successful project completions.