Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

Capstone Project

All students enrolled in the Doctor of Nursing Practice Program will complete an evidence-based capstone project as a requirement for graduation.


The capstone project is a culmination of the knowledge gained in the DNP courses. The project is an opportunity to demonstrate an analytical approach to programmatic, administrative, policy or clinical issues in a format that supports the synthesis, transfer and utilization of knowledge. This project will demonstrate identification and resolution of a practice problem through the scholarship of application or integration, rather than the reductionist scholarship of discovery associated with a PhD program of study. In other words, a capstone project is broad and holistic. The experience is designed to put to use the knowledge and skills gained within the doctoral program in a specific practice area of the student’s choice.  The project is chosen to make a contribution -- in the work place, the community or in the academic arena. As such, capstone experiences are characterized by intensive interactions between and among faculty, students, and the community in which the capstone is enacted. 
A capstone project is not intended to test new models, develop new theory, or test hypotheses. Depending upon the student’s area of emphasis or interest, the capstone project might include the evaluation of a program or intervention, an analysis of a health care policy, an in-depth case study, a gap analysis, a comprehensive systematic review for determination of best practice, or the development of a strategic plan for the delivery of healthcare. 

A capstone project is done with the advice and guidance of a committee. The Project Committee will consist of at least one Rutgers SN doctoral faculty, who will function as Chair of the committee, and at least one other person, who will function as a committee member.  The second person does not have to be a Rutgers faculty member, must have a doctorate, and be selected in collaboration with the project Chair, with the Chair having the final approval. There may, depending upon the type of project you are doing or on the advise of your project Chair, need a larger committee.

Types of DNP projects

  • System modification for quality improvement processes
  • Analyze a state or national health care policy and propose a change in the model or implementation of policy
  • Develop and implement information technologies to improve outcomes
  • Compare care and teaching models, potential cost savings, and outcomes.
  • Design and evaluate health care or health education programs.
  • Lead consumer and professional coalition projects to develop, implement or evaluate programs
  • Systematic review with practice recommendations and an outcome product, such as a clinical guideline, a toolkit, a grant.
  • Strategic plan with an Environmental Scan, SWOT analysis, and cost-benefit ratio

To meet graduation requirements, the results of the capstone project must be presented in an open forum.

 

Guidelines for the DNP Proposal Hearing

The DNP Proposal Hearing is a presentation of the capstone project proposal. The verbal presentation should include statements of the problem, a brief review of salient literature, methods to be used, anticipated results, and potential implications of the study. Powerpoint slides may be used. The project Chair will conduct the meeting. The student, project Chair and project committee member(s) must attend the presentation.

The hearing shall be scheduled near the beginning of the second year of study, at a time and place that is convenient and agreed upon by the Project Chair and Committee member and the defending student. Proposal hearings for projects with more than one student may be combined into a symposium format, if this is agreed upon by all faculty and students involved. The student is responsible for determining with committee members a date and time. The project chair will advise the student when he/she is ready to set a date for the proposal hearing.  Following the hearing, Project Chair and committee member will jointly decide if the student has completed the requirements for the proposal. The project Chair will notify the student of the decision, including any necessary changes to be made in the proposal, immediately following the Committee's deliberations. In the event that changes are to be made to the proposal, these shall be done under the direction of the project Chair.

An evaluation form will be completed by the Committee Chair and submitted to the DNP Program Director.

Please note that no data collection or interventions related to the project can be started prior to approval by the project committee and RBHS's IRB, if necessary.

Oral Defense Guidelines

  1. The Committee Chair introduces the Committee members, the doctoral student(s), and his/her proposal title
  2. The doctoral student(s) presents his/her/their completed project (30' to 1 hour)
  3. The Committee asks questions, following by questions form the audience(30' -approximately)
  4. The Committee deliberates on the student's (s') project in a separate room (10' to 15')
  5. The Chair announces the Committee deliberation
  6. The Chair signs the examination form

Timelines

Timelines for DNP Capstone Project and Graduation

Approved Proposal and IRB Approval

Last Day for Capstone Defense

Graduation Date

April 15th

August 31st

September 15th

August 15th

December 31st

January 15th

December 15th

April 30th

May

Opportunities

Grant Funding Opportunity for DNP students at Rutgers SN- Systematic Review Request for Proposal

Completed Capstone List

View List of Completed Capstone Projects »

Forms

 

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