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The Impact of Medicaid Expansion on Population Health Outcomes: Many states have opted to expand Medicaid eligibility under the Affordable Care Act. For this project, you could evaluate the effect of Medicaid expansion on key population health outcomes like mortality rates, rates of preventable hospitalizations, management of chronic conditions, and access to care. You would need to choose a state that expanded Medicaid and a comparison state that did not expand to conduct a quantitative analysis of health data pre- and post-expansion. This could provide insights into how public policy decisions around Medicaid directly impact population health.

Role of Community Health Centers in Improving Access to Care: Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) like community health centers play an important role in providing primary care to underserved communities. For this project, you could assess the impact of new or expanded FQHCs on measures of healthcare access in the surrounding community such as rates of uninsured, number of primary care visits, use of emergency departments for non-emergency needs, timeliness of appointments, etc. through analysis of public usage data. Qualitative research like interviews with center administrators and patients could also provide insights into how FQHCs meet the needs of their target populations and how public policy could better support their mission.

Evaluating Childhood Vaccine Exemption Policies: In recent years, some states have enacted laws tightening exemptions that parents can claim to opt children out of required school vaccinations. For this project, you could do a comparative case study analysis of different state exemption laws to identify features associated with higher vs. lower overall rates of vaccine exemption. Qualitative research through interviews could explore stakeholder perspectives on these policies. You could then make recommendations on how states may strengthen vaccine mandate laws to balance public health and individual freedoms. Appropriate use of vaccines is a prime example of how public policy directly impacts health outcomes.

Improving Care Transitions to Reduce Hospital Readmissions: Reducing preventable hospital readmissions is a major policy priority and financial burden for the healthcare system. For this project, you could partner with a local hospital to evaluate its current care transition process and suggest evidence-based improvements grounded in best practices from the literature. For example, you may recommend integrating more home visits by nurses/community health workers post-discharge, embedding pharmacists in the transition process, improving communication of discharge plans to primary care providers, engaging patients and families more actively in self-management, etc. Quantitative analysis of hospital data could then measure impact of implemented changes on readmissions rates. This connects health administration practice with policy goals.

Exploring Impact of Social Determinants on Population Mental Health: Where people live, learn, work, and play impacts health in major ways. Social and economic factors like poverty, education, housing stability, food security, environmental hazards are strong determinants of mental health and illness in communities. For this project, you could conduct both quantitative and qualitative research in a community heavily impacted by social problems to better understand how underlying determinants shape mental health outcomes. Analysis of population-level data along with resident interviews/focus groups could then inform targeted policy recommendations to address root causes through interventions in housing, education, employment support, community development and more. Addressing social determinants is a growing public health policy priority.

Assessing Regional Approaches to the Opioid Epidemic: The opioid overdose crisis requires a multi-pronged public health response that extends beyond addiction treatment into safer prescribing, prevention, harm reduction and enforcement. For this project, you could evaluate differences in strategies and outcomes across states or regions using a mixed-methods approach. Quantitative analysis could measure impacts on overdose rates, NAT deaths, prescribing behaviors while qualitative research involves interviews with those implementing programs. A comparative case study analysis could then highlight promising practices and policies working in some areas but not others to inform a more coordinated, evidence-based response across levels of government.

In each case, the capstone would thoroughly explore relevant background, methodology for data collection and analysis, results and discussion of key findings, and conclusions with specific recommendations for public policy improvements. There are endless opportunities to address important healthcare challenges through policy-oriented research and projects that advance the goals of population health and health systems administration. With sufficient depth and methodological rigor, such a substantial policy-focused paper could serve as a valuable capstone experience.


Patients often experience challenges during the transition from one level of care to another, such as being discharged from the hospital to home. Issues like medication errors, lack of follow-up appointments, or inadequate understanding of post-hospital care instructions can negatively impact a patient’s health outcomes and risk readmission. For my capstone project, I developed and tested an intervention aimed at improving the transition of patients from the hospital to home setting.

First, I conducted a thorough literature review to understand the scope of the problem and identify evidence-based practices that have been shown to improve care transitions. Numerous studies have found that the lack of communication between providers during care transitions is a key factor contributing to poor outcomes. Interventions like improved discharge planning, medication reconciliation, and follow-up phone calls have demonstrated success in reducing readmission rates and improving patient satisfaction.

I then interviewed hospital care coordinators, primary care physicians, nurses, patients, and caregivers to gain insight into the specific challenges experienced locally. Common themes that emerged included a lack of shared treatment plans between hospitalists and primary providers, difficulty scheduling timely post-discharge follow-up appointments, medication discrepancies upon discharge, and inadequate education for patients and families on self-care needs and warning signs to watch out for after returning home.

Based on this needs assessment, I designed a multi-pronged intervention focused on enhancing communication and coordination between hospitals, primary care practices, and patients/caregivers. With input and approval from key stakeholders, I created a standardized discharge planning template and workflow. This included generating a comprehensive after-hospital care plan with treatment goals, follow-up needs, and instructions to share seamlessly between providers via the EHR. It also involved scheduling any necessary post-discharge appointments prior to leaving the hospital to allow timely follow-up.

Additionally, I developed a structured telephone-based program to support patients through the first 30 days post-discharge. Trained hospital nurses conducted phone calls 3, 7, 14, and 30 days after discharge to reinforce education, answer questions, reconcile medications, review symptoms and adherence, and identify any early signs of deterioration or potential readmission risks. Patients received an easy-to-understand checklist of critical information to manage their care transition. If issues arose, the nurses could facilitate prompt contact with primary care or other community resources.

To evaluate the effectiveness of this intervention, I conducted a quantitative pre-post analysis comparing outcomes for patients who received the new care transition supports versus usual care. With IRB approval and patient consent, I retrospectively reviewed hospital and primary care EHR data for 120 patients discharged 30 days prior to implementation and 120 patients who received the full intervention package within the first 30 days after the go-live date.

Key outcome measures included 30-day readmission rates, post-discharge emergency department visits, patient/caregiver understanding of discharge instructions, timeliness of follow-up appointments, accuracy of reconciled medication lists, and patient satisfaction scores. Statistical analysis revealed a 38% relative reduction in 30-day readmissions and a 56% decrease in ED visits within the first post-discharge month for patients exposed to the new transition of care supports compared to usual care patients. Post-discharge follow-up appointment adherence saw a 22% improvement and medication discrepancies dropped by 45% as well. Patient experience scores also increased significantly across multiple domains.

The results of this project provided strong evidence that a comprehensive approach addressing the major gaps identified in the care transition process can meaningfully impact important health outcomes like readmissions. I presented my findings to hospital administrators and primary care leadership who have since committed to spreading implementation of the standardized processes and supports developed across their full network. I believe this work demonstrates the potential for quality improvement partnerships between clinicians, health systems, and patients to build more cohesive and supportive care pathways during care transitions. With continuing effort, we can better equip patients and their families to successfully navigate transitions and prevent adverse events after hospitalization.

This capstone project addressed a prevalent problem in healthcare through conducting needs assessments, designing and testing multi-faceted evidence-based interventions, collecting and analyzing data to measure outcomes, and engaging key stakeholders. By enhancing communication, coordination, education and support for patients transferring between levels of care, significant improvements were seen in readmissions, emergency visits, medication management, appointment adherence and experience – representing more continuous, safe and reliable care across settings.


Developing a Website or Web Application (15965 chars) – A very common capstone project is for students to develop an entire website or web application from scratch. This allows them to showcase their skills in web development, including technologies like HTML, CSS, JavaScript, databases, servers, and more. Some example project ideas include:

Building a social networking site like Facebook or LinkedIn. This would require designing user profiles, privacy settings, newsfeeds, messaging capabilities, and more. It tests skills in web dev, UX design, security, scaling, and databases.

Developing an e-commerce site like Amazon. Students would create a storefront, shopping cart functionality, payment processing integration, order management system, inventory tracking, analytics, and other features small businesses need.

Creating a content management system (CMS) like WordPress. Students design and code a platform for creating and managing websites without code. This shows skills in PHP, databases, APIs, authentication, and administration interfaces.

Building a SaaS application. Students design and develop software like project management, accounting, or CRM tools that can be accessed online. Skills tested include scalable architecture, multi-tenancy, customization, billing/payments, and API integration.

Developing Mobile Applications – Another popular capstone is designing and building a native or cross-platform mobile app. This demonstrates skills in mobile frameworks, UI/UX design principles for small screens, offline functionality, push notifications, location services and more. Some example projects include:

Creating an event finder or travel app that uses location services and maps APIs to display nearby points of interest.

Developing a study/flashcards app that allows creating and sharing decks of digital flashcards across different device platforms.

Building a photo/video sharing app with social features like filters, hashtags, comments and the ability to follow other users.

Designing a “super app” that combines several useful functions like ridesharing, food delivery, local services marketplace into one integrated mobile experience.

Developing Desktop Applications – For students focusing on areas like systems programming, embedded systems or desktop platforms, a capstone could involve coding cross-platform desktop apps using technologies like .NET, Java, Python or C++. Example projects:

Creating an image/photo editor with advanced filters, effects and organizational tools.

Building a multimedia player that supports different file formats, file browsing, playlists and streaming.

Developing an IDE-like text editor with features for syntax highlighting, code snippets, extensions and version control integration.

Designing a desktop database app for storing and visualizing data with advanced query capabilities and report generation.

Developing APIs and Libraries – Another common type of capstone focuses on designing, documenting and distributing APIs or libraries. This allows students to apply skills and knowledge around architecture, abstraction, encapsulation, security and documentation. Examples include:

Designing a library or SDK for a cloud service that makes common tasks simple through abstractions and encapsulation of complexity.

Creating a reusable geo-location or mapping API that can be integrated into other applications.

Building an image/audio/video processing library with common functions that other developers can easily leverage in their projects.

Open-sourcing a natural language processing or machine learning library with clean APIs and thorough documentation for developers.

Implementing Algorithms and Data Structures – For students wanting to dig into core CS principles, a capstone around implementing various algorithms or data structures from scratch shows mastery of fundamental concepts. Some example projects:

Coding a hash table with chaining from scratch and benchmarking performance against built-in implementations.

Implementing various sorting algorithms like merge, quick, heap and comparing running times with large data sets.

Creating self-balancing binary search trees from scratch with insertion, removal and traversal functions.

Building a primitives library with common data structures like stacks, queues, linked lists, graphs, tries from the ground up in C.

As you can see, there are many types of meaningful and impactful projects that computer science students have developed for their capstones. The key is to pick a project scope that allows thoroughly demonstrating core CS skills and knowledge gained throughout the program.


One of the most important coping strategies for nurses to manage stress is practicing self-care. When nurses do not take care of their own needs, it becomes much more difficult to provide quality patient care and cope with stress on the job. Some self-care strategies nurses can practice include:

Getting adequate sleep. Nursing is a demanding job that requires energy and focus around the clock. Nurses should aim to get at least 7-9 hours of sleep per night to feel sufficiently rested.

Eating a healthy diet. When stressed, it can be easy to rely on junk food for quick energy. A balanced diet with lots of lean proteins, whole grains, fruits and vegetables provides sustainable energy and nutrients to boost mood.

Exercising regularly. Even light exercise for 30 minutes a few times a week can release feel-good endorphins and relieve tension. Nurses should aim to step away from the unit during breaks to stretch their legs or do a short yoga flow to decompress.

Practicing relaxation techniques. Stress and tension often accumulate in the body. Practicing deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, meditation or visualization techniques daily can help lower a nurse’s overall stress levels.

Scheduling time for hobbies. Engaging in activities the nurse finds enjoyable and relaxing, like spending time with family/friends, reading, crafts, playing with pets, are critical for managing stress in spare time.

Seeing a mental health professional. For nurses facing severe or long-term stress, seeing a therapist can help develop personalized coping strategies. Talking through challenges reduces feelings of isolation.

In addition to self-care, nurses can use conflict resolution and communication skills to handle job stressors:

Assertively addressing concerns. To reduce stress, nurses should not bottle up concerns but respectfully share them with colleagues and managers to solve issues collaboratively.

Establishing boundaries. It is important for nurses to say “no” when workload becomes unmanageable rather than taken on more than what can reasonably be handled alone.

Using “I” statements. By framing issues around personal feelings instead of accusations, nurses can resolve conflicts constructively and reduce tensions with colleagues.

Compromising when possible. Nursing demands teamwork. Where opinions differ, nurses should seek middle ground solutions respecting everyone’s perspectives and priorities.

Limiting distractions. Nurses can use Do Not Disturb signals or close office doors during documentation to focus on one task at a time without constant interruption that adds to stress levels.

Asking for help early. No nurse can do it all alone. Early requests for assistance prevents magnified stress when problems have escalated. Fellow nurses and managers want to support each other’s well-being.

On an organizational level, healthcare facilities can reduce nurse stress by addressing:

Understaffing. Ensuring adequate nurse-to-patient ratios according to acuity levels avoids overworking existing employees to a breaking point.

Inadequate supplies/resources. When basic necessities like functional equipment, supplies or medications are unavailable, performing tasks efficiently becomes difficult and frustrating for nurses.

Lack of appreciation. Simple gestures like thank you cards or occasional luncheons acknowledging nurses’ efforts motivates staff and creates a healthier work culture.

Limited opportunity for advancement. With few options for promotions or professional growth, staff can feel stuck in current roles. Flexible career ladders provide incentives for longevity in nursing.

Lax workplace violence policies. All staff including nurses should feel safe from verbal/physical aggression at work. Zero tolerance policies strictly enforced strengthen security for mental well-being.

Unfavorable schedules/shifts. Rotating shifts disrupt circadian rhythms and work-home balance. When possible, preferences for schedules like days only should be accommodated.

Using a multifaceted approach addressing individual coping, interpersonal communication skills, and organizational policies – nurses can effectively manage stresses inherent to caregiving roles and avoid burnout through self-care and support from colleagues. Perseverance in overcoming daily challenges with positivity and team-oriented outlooks ultimately make nursing a rewarding lifelong career.


The process of evaluating an existing psychology-related program typically involves defining the scope and purpose of the evaluation, developing an evaluation plan and instruments, collecting relevant data, analyzing the data, and reporting the findings and recommendations. Let’s break this down step-by-step:

The first step is to clearly define the scope and purpose of the evaluation. You’ll want to be very specific about what aspects of the program you will evaluate. For example, will you look at outcomes, processes, satisfaction levels, cost-effectiveness, etc.? It’s also important to determine the purpose – is the evaluation meant to assess how well the program is meeting its goals, identify areas for improvement, or inform a decision about continuing the program? Having a well-defined scope and purpose will help guide your evaluation.

Once you have defined the scope and purpose, the next step is to develop an evaluation plan. Your plan should include concrete questions you want to answer through the evaluation. These questions should be directly linked to assessing the scope you defined. You’ll also want to develop the instruments you will use to collect data, such as surveys, interviews, observations, or document/data reviews. When developing your instruments, make sure to ground your questions in relevant research/theory and pilot test them to ensure they will yield meaningful results.

With your plan and instruments ready, the next major step is collecting data. You will need to identify appropriate sources of information based on your evaluation questions. For example, if assessing client outcomes, you may survey or interview past and present clients. If looking at processes, you may observe treatment sessions or interview staff. Be systematic in your data collection to ensure a representative sample. Also, obtain necessary permissions from the program and participants.

Once your data is collected, the analysis phase begins. The type of analysis will depend on your instruments and research questions but may involve qualitative techniques like coding/theming interviews/observations or quantitative methods such as descriptive statistics, correlations, comparisons of groups. The analysis should result in clear and meaningful findings directly tied back to your evaluation questions and scope.

The final crucial step is reporting your evaluation results. Your report should provide an overview of the program being evaluated, restate the purpose and scope of the evaluation, describe your methodology, present the key findings clearly in the report, and discuss their implications. Most importantly, the report should include specific, actionable recommendations for how the program can be improved or strengthened based on the results. Recommendations are the most important part, as they provides value back to the program.

Some other best practices for a program evaluation include collecting input from key stakeholders; addressing ethical considerations; highlighting both strengths and limitations; considering costs, generalizability, and feasibility of recommendations; and planning dissemination of results. Rigor, transparency and usefulness are very important. By following a systematic, well-planned process and utilizing best practices, you can perform an in-depth evaluation of a psychology program that meaningfully assesses its merit and impact. This level of evaluation provides excellent experience for psychology capstone projects and valuable insights for the program being studied.

Evaluating an existing psychology program is a complex but rewarding process that involves defining the scope and purpose, developing an evaluation plan and tools, systematically collecting and analyzing multiple sources of quantitative and qualitative data, and reporting key findings and recommendations. With proper planning and methodology, program evaluations can assess implementation, outcomes, satisfaction, costs and more – while also identifying practical strategies to enhance services. The systematic, evidence-based approach makes program evaluation an ideal primary research project for psychology students to gain experience with real-world application of evaluation methods.