Sally Fitzgibbons Foundation

Beginning the Academic Essay

Synthesis: Learning Outcomes in RN BSN Program Eva Cooper
Nursing Capstone Course
University of Texas Arlington
August 2018
I took my RN BSN program this year with the hopes to become a BSN-prepared nurse because I wanted to become an instrument in improving the overall health outcome of our rural community. I have seen that BSN-prepared have a significant impact on reducing the rate of medication errors as well as reduction in the length of stay in the rural community. I am well aware of the increasing rates of readmission that is now been occurring in the hospital and I am convinced that a leadership role could help alleviate this problem. The Institute of Medicine states it is expected that there will be shortage of nurses in the year 2020. For this reason, I have decided to pursue the BSN course so I can somehow alleviate the shortage of nurses and increase in the rate of turnover as well as improve quality healthcare services.
Learning in RN BSN Program
The RN BNS Program has taught me a lot about perseverance and hard work. Balancing my time in work, personal life and my studies is not an easy task. The capstone course is especially challenging because although I have been exposed to evidenced-based practice in my workplace, I have problems with the actual terminologies and statistical processes used in research. However, the guidance and instruction that is provided by our Professor has played a very crucial role in giving me direction in pursuing BSN. One change attitude that I can particularly note in pursuing BSN is my growing interest in research.
With the completion of my capstone paper, I have realized and appreciated the value of evidenced-based and capstone research in improving the overall quality of healthcare service delivery. For example, in the past few weeks, our facility has been engaging in the implementation of comprehensive discharge planning as a policy change to reduce rates of readmission. I have used my knowledge in capstone in becoming the data collection team who will help evaluate the effectiveness of the proposed policy.
Being in the RN BSN program has positively transitioned me to become a professional who is willing to engage in a new task and embark on challenges that requires data collection, close collaboration and lobbying of healthcare needs. I have changed my perspective from being a healthcare staff, to a leader who utilizes trends, and makes use of critical decision-making skills in order to resolve a problem. I have seen myself grow as a professional nurse with the RN BSN program as it has positively transitioned my perspective and helped me appreciate regulations and policies. I am now looking at policies as an important ground for change. In the past, I have looked at change as a scary thing, as an additional burden. But today, I am embracing change, looking at change as inevitable and critical in improving our processes, standards, therefore, our outcome (Spetz & Bates, 2013).
RN-BSN Reference
My capstone project consist of implementing best practice in resolving healthcare-associated infection in the intensive care unit. Specifically, reducing the rates of central venous access device infection rate through the use of a bundle program. I have appreciated the process of exploring the literature an determining best evidence and identifying the literature or research gap. I am not really fond of reading scholarly journals in the past, but this course has taught me the value of it.

I learned that it is important to use peer-reviewed scholarly journal article so that information and data gathered is credible and reliable. It is of great importance to learn the process of critiquing these journal articles in order to determine if these are reliable source that is relevant to my research project. I have learned and perhaps has gained proficiency in identifying the research methods of a particular research, synthesizing the evidence, and looking at sample sizes, statistical techniques. In my research project, I have identified research journals that uses randomized clinical trials, meta-analysis and systematic reviews. I found out that these evidences can provide great value because they have higher validity and reliability compared to qualitative research journals.
Specifically, I have learned to develop goals and objectives that are measurable, attainable and are time-bounded and with the development of these goals, I was able to determine outcome measures that I can utilize in order to measure the success or failure of my chosen capstone project.

Engagement in Lifelong Learning
I am in agreement that all healthcare staff should continue to engage in lifelong learning through enrollment in various continuing professional education programs because nursing and healthcare is a dynamic field, it is ever-changing. In fact, in the past few years, I have seen a tremendous change in terms of policies, standard operating procedures and the use of healthcare information technology. These changes requires leadership guidance as well as skills and knowledge so we can keep up and address barriers to positive change. I believe that lifelong learning can facilitate this by helping new leaders to be prepared to embrace change, the process of change management such as Lewin’s Change Model so that there is efficiency in adopting change.
As a lifelong learner, I will engage in continuous education by mastering my skills in managerial task, decision-making and I will receive mentoring from senior leaders in the field. I am particularly interested in receiving mentorship from healthcare financial leaders so I can improve my knowledge and understanding about healthcare finance management. I would like to reference the article from Tingen, Burnett, Murchison, ; Zhu (2009), entitled The Importance of Nursing Research. The article reflects nursing research, indeed provides a tremendous influence on the current and future professional nursing practice by rendering a critical component in the educational process of the healthcare staff. I can relate somehow to this article because it is about the experiences of nursing students as they are recruited as a member of the National Institute of Nursing Research. This is similar to my experience in capstone as I have gathered data, explored the literature and learn to measure outcomes.
Transitioning from Novice to Expert
My transition from a novice to an expert nurse was not easy as we are all expected to start from knowing very little about the nursing practice to becoming proficient. Establishing the experience and proficiency that I have in my field right now was a product of long-hours of working and experiencing different patient challenges and complexities. My expertise is a result of long working hours, facing increased patient influx and patient demands, and taking care of clients with multiple healthcare needs. Looking back, as a novice nurse, I saw myself as naïve and innocent of the battle that I was about to face. I battled the fear and anxiety of working with new colleagues, and looking after critically ill patients with very little chance of survival. I battled my emotions having to hold my dear patients as I bid them farewell. My expertise is a product of my bittersweet experience in the hospital and I am proud of it.
I do not regard myself as an expert nurse because I know that there are still a lot of things to learn in this field. As a proficient nurse, I have attained balance in terms of emotions and actions. I now learned to become empathetic and at the same time becoming a wise decision-maker. I have learned the value of problem solving and the critical role of being a team player. As a novice nurse, I felt that I work alone, now as a proficient nurse, I can say that we all work as a team because we are a team. We closely collaborate, communicate and coordinate so we can attain the best healthcare service delivery to our patients. As a proficient nurse, I do not work alone anymore.

Synthesis of Role Transition
My role transition can be summed up by the flow from being solitary care provider to becoming a team player. We used a team-based model in our facility and this has provided me with the best learning experience. As a novice nurse, my role was bedside care, administration of medication, vital signs, and patient monitoring. I have outgrown this role and slowly became a team player, as I establish an open and professional relationship with my colleague. Through team-based approach, we have resolved issues of increasing rate of post-discharge complications and mortality (Anbari, 2015).
We have done this by lobbying efforts and including the care transition coordinator and the social worker in transitioning the client from our hospitals to home. I am now able to look beyond the healthcare problem and recognize the value of multidisciplinary care. I am now seeing my fellow colleague as team members who plays a very critical role in resolving client issues. I am now closely collaborating with allied healthcare professionals. In due time, I will finish my BSN, and then hopefully my Master’s Degree so I can become an expert nurse in my field.
Evaluation of the Program
Overall, the program has provided us with the best nursing assistance in terms of learning capstone and becoming an expert nurse. I particularly like the weekly journals because through this, I can reflect on the learnings and insights that I was able to develop each week. I also like the worksheets where we build the work that we did each week into one final presentation. For me, this is an effective method of helping students learn a complex concept effectively by introducing the student to the process in small steps. I regard nursing capstone and research as a complex concept that with was simplified and made easy by our esteemed professor and the user-friendly online environment provided by University of Texas Arlington. The aspect that I want to retain in the program is discussion and the journal list because it helps synthesize learning. I want to suggest the inclusion of group discussion and assignments which can facilitate and foster group cohesion and teamwork.
Anbari, A. (2015). The RN to BSN Transition. Global Qualitative Nursing Research, 2, 233339361561430. doi: 10.1177/2333393615614306
Spetz, J., & Bates, T. (2013). Is a Baccalaureate in Nursing Worth It? The Return to Education, 2000-2008. Health Services Research, 48(6pt1), 1859-1878. doi: 10.1111/1475-6773.12104
Tingen, M., Burnett, A., Murchison, R., & Zhu, H. (2009). The importance of nursing research. Journal of Nursing Education, 48(3), 167-170. Retrieved from

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