Knowledge for the Good of the Individual and Society


Week 3: Capstone Research Practicum


Practicum Project Goals, Objectives & Goals


Nursing as a profession has a social mandate to contribute to the good of society through knowledge-based practice.


—Mary K. McCurry, Susan M. Hunter Revell, & Sister Callista Roy, Knowledge for the Good of the Individual and Society: Linking Philosophy, Disciplinary Goals, Theory, and Practice


1. Think back on a change that you successfully made in your life. It could be a geographical move, a career transition, a health or lifestyle improvement, or even your return to school for this degree. Consider the effort that went into making that change and the people, time, and expense involved. These personal changes give you the experience and resolve to address healthcare policies, processes, and systems in need of change. This is what you will do at your practicum site.


2. As you continue to define your Practicum Project, this week, you will evaluate scholarly literature and evidence, specialization standards, and/or community standards related to your project focus and identify objectives and a goal to guide project development. These elements will be integrated into your Practicum Project Plan, which is due in Week 5.


In addition, you complete and submit Journal Entry 1 and consistently keep your time log in Meditrek.


Learning Objectives

Students will:


· Justify Practicum Project focus or topic

· Develop measurable goals and objectives for the Practicum Project

· Apply scholarly literature related to healthcare issues or problems in practicum settings

· Analyze practicum experiences in the context of a nurse executive role

· Evaluate the application of theory as it relates to the practicum or practice experience

· Formulate solutions to authentic problems in healthcare settings


Learning Resources


Dimitroff, L. J. (2018, November 30). Journaling: A valuable tool for registered nurse. American Nurse Today.


Miller, L. B. (2017). Review of journaling as a teaching and learning strategy. Teaching and learning in Nursing , 12(1), 39-42.


Walden University Center. (n.d.-b). Common assignment: Journal entries.





The following two websites provide information on setting project goals and objectives. They are geared toward individuals applying for grants; however, the guidelines will still be helpful for you in determining your Practicum Project goal and objectives.


Minnesota Department of Health. (n.d.). SMART objectives.


Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (n.d.). Setting goals and developing specific measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound objectives.


Document: Practicum Experience Journal Template (Word document)


Document: Practicum Project Plan Overview (PDF)





Discussion: Practicum Project Goals, Objectives, and Justification(2 pages)


1. After identifying the focus of her project, MSN student Maria had to begin developing the plan. What exactly did she want to accomplish? She needed to start with a goal and develop several smaller objectives as milestones toward meeting the goal. Maria decided that her goal was to reduce patient safety incidents by 25%. Her objectives, then, were to analyze current safety and shift change procedures, develop guidelines for a huddle process, and apply the huddle process over a 3-week period. She justified the project focus by citing research about huddling as an effective technique to mitigate patient safety problems.



Photo Credit: Creative Images –


2. In this Discussion, you will articulate your project goal and objectives and provide research-based justification for your topic selection. You will receive feedback from colleagues to help refine your objectives and address your concerns.


To Prepare:


· Reflect on the focus of your proposed Practicum Project, which you identified through discussion with your practicum Faculty Member and Preceptor last week.

· View the Practicum Project Plan Overview document provided in this week’s Learning Resources. Consider the project planning guidelines included in the document as you prepare for this Discussion.

· Address the following to help you develop your plan for the Practicum Project:

· Review the scholarly literature, specialization standards, and/or regulatory standards that validate and shed light on your Practicum Project focus. Which professional organizations would you contact in relation to your topic? What regulatory standards would you address? As you proceed, you will continue to gather evidence from a combination of sources for your project as part of your written Practicum Project Plan.

· Identify the overarching goal for your Practicum Project.

· Consider how you can achieve your Practicum Project goal through the development and fulfillment of objectives. Based on your Practicum Project goal, develop two or three objectives that are specific, measurable, attainable, results focused, and time focused. Incorporate higher order verbs from Bloom’s taxonomy (i.e., Application level and above) as you create the objectives. Start the objective with the descriptor (descriptive word such as analyze, synthesize).

· Contemplate any questions or concerns you may have about your Practicum Project or the planning involved. What kind of support could your colleagues offer to help you move forward?

3. Note: Be mindful of privacy concerns as you engage in this and future Discussions. Do not identify any organizations or individuals by name.


By Day 3

4. Post a description of your proposed Practicum Project. Provide a brief rationale for your selected focus that incorporates references from the literature, specialization standards, regulatory standards, and/or other sources you have used to validate this project. Explain the overarching project goal and list two or three measurable objectives that will help you meet the goal. Also, share any questions or concerns that your colleagues may be able to help you address as you proceed with planning for your Practicum Project.


Read a selection of your colleagues’ responses.





By Day 6

Respond to at least two of your colleagues on two different days, using one or more of the following approaches:


· Ask a probing question, substantiated with additional background information, evidence, or research.

· Share an insight from having read your colleagues’ postings, synthesizing the information to provide new perspectives.

· Validate an idea with your own experience and additional research.

Note: For this Discussion, you are required to complete your initial post before you will be able to view and respond to your colleagues’ postings. Begin by clicking on the “Post to Discussion Question” link and then select “Create Thread” to complete your initial post. Remember, once you click on Submit, you cannot delete or edit your own posts, and you cannot post anonymously. Please check your post carefully before clicking on Submit!


Submission and Grading Information

Grading Criteria

To access your rubric:


Week 3 Discussion Rubric


Post by Day 3 and Respond by Day 6

To Participate in this Discussion: Wee 3 Discussion







Journal Assignment: Practicum Journal Entry 1(2 pages) APA format 7th ed.


1. The purpose of your Practicum Journal is to engage in reflection as an active pursuit, placing your experience in a larger context. Your journal draws from evidence, concepts, and/or theories you have examined throughout your program, especially those related to the nurse executive specialization. It prompts you to make connections between that research and the applied practice at your site.



2. What have you observed during your practicum experience that you would like to analyze through your journal writing? What can be applied to your Practicum Project? Consider these questions, as well as how your day-to-day experience applies to the larger context of your professional skill development, as you reflect. For this Assignment, you complete and submit your first of three journal entries.


To Prepare:


· Reflect on your practicum experiences in Weeks 1–3.

· Reflect on evidence, concepts, and/or theories learned throughout this program and your nurse executive specialization.

· Analyze a problem, issue, or situation that you have observed during your practicum experience.

· Using a minimum of three peer-reviewed sources of evidence, consider what you have observed within the context of your specialty using appropriate concepts, principles, and theories. Give special attention to observed events that vary from scholarly literature.

· Including personal communications from leaders in healthcare administration is acceptable; however, this does not replace the requirement for three peer-reviewed sources of evidence.

· Determine the degree to which the problem, situation, or issue was addressed in a manner consistent with the theory, concepts, and principles detailed in the evidence.

· Given the various evidence-based approaches that can be used in addressing the observed problem, situation, or issue, think about a plan for approaching the matter differently.

· If you have not already done so, download the Practicum Experience Journal Template, found in this week’s Learning Resources.


To complete Practicum Journal Entry 1:


· Open your saved Practicum Experience Journal.

· In the Journal 1 area of the document, write a 250- to 300-word entry in which you do the following:

· Document specific objective(s) for the specific time frame.

· Describe a problem, issue, or situation that you have observed during your practicum experience (no more than half a page).

· Using no fewer than three peer-reviewed sources of evidence, analyze what you have observed within the context of your specialty using appropriate concepts, principles, and theories. Give special attention to observed events that vary from scholarly literature.

· Explain the degree to which the problem, situation, or issue was addressed in a manner that is consistent with the theory, concepts, and principles detailed in the evidence.

· Given the various evidence-based approaches that can be used in addressing the problem, situation, or issue, formulate a plan for approaching the matter differently.

· Include APA-formatted references immediately following the content.




By Day 7

Submit Practicum Journal Entry 1.


Submission and Grading Information

To submit your completed Assignment for review and grading, do the following:


Please save your Assignment using the naming convention “WK3Journal+last name+first initial. (extension)” as the name.

Click the Week 3 Journal Assignment Rubric to review the Grading Criteria for the Assignment.

Click the Week 3 Journal Assignment link. You will also be able to “View Rubric” for grading criteria from this area.

Next, from the Attach File area, click on the Browse My Computer button. Find the document you saved as “WK3Journal+last name+first initial. (extension)” and click Open.

If applicable: From the Plagiarism Tools area, click the checkbox for I agree to submit my paper(s) to the Global Reference Database.

Click on the Submit button to complete your submission.

Grading Criteria

To access your rubric:


Week 3 Journal Assignment 1 Rubric


Submit Your Journal Assignment by Day 7

To submit your Journal: Week 3 Journal Assignment 1



Practicum Time Log


Remember to consistently document your practicum hours in Meditrek using the following website:


HSoft Corporation. (n.d.). Meditrek.





Looking Ahead: Practicum Project Plan

A. The Practicum Project Plan is a scholarly proposal for your project. Over the next few weeks, you develop elements of your plan and then integrate these elements in a 4- to 6-page scholarly paper.

Refer to the Practicum Project Plan Overview document, provided in this week’s Learning Resources, for details about this Assignment. Be sure to consider the project planning guidelines included in the document as you proceed with the development of your plan.



Photo Credit: Getty Images


The Practicum Project Plan is due by Day 7 of Week 5.


To prepare this week:


· Focus on development of your goal statement, measurable objectives, and evidence-based review of the literature for project justification, as outlined in the Practicum Project Plan (PPP) Overview document. Integrate insights from this week’s Discussion.

· Reflect on questions you may have and consult with your practicum Faculty Member and/or Preceptor as needed.

· Search and review nursing literature in the Walden Library related to your project topic.


Walden Library recommends the following approach:


1. Start with the Nursing Research Databases in the Walden Library. For some administrative topics, consider the Business & Management databases as well. Try more than one database as needed.

2. Perform a basic search with one of the most important concepts from your problem.

· Use quotation marks around a phrase with common words like “patient safety.” Do not select any limiters yet.

3. Look at the initial results list, especially the title and subject words, to see related concepts and terms to add to your search.

· Use or between related words, which means any of the terms are acceptable. Example: emr or electronic medical records or ehr or electronic health records

· Using synonyms will usually increase the number of results retrieved.

4. Add a second concept in Box 2 to focus your search. It helps to keep concepts separate, especially when multiple boxes are provided.

· Try adding nursing as a separate concept to focus on your role in the situation.

5. Refine your results depending on what you find. Don’t be afraid to try other words or combinations of words to get a sizeable hitlist. Then you can apply limits.

6. Limits: Scroll down in the left column to limit by publication date (typically the last 5 years) and check the box for peer-reviewed scholarly journals only. It helps to do this after you know you have performed a successful search and identified possible synonyms and subtopics.

7. To retrieve the full text of individual items, click on the [email protected] button and follow the prompts. Sometimes this step takes persistence because there are so many different publishers supplying content to these databases.

8. Ask a Librarian if y

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