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Nursing Dissertation Topics

Nursing Dissertation Topics

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Example nursing dissertation topic 1:

Mentoring in the NHS: A case study based analysis

New entrants into the profession whether at nursing or clinical level are traditionally mentored by established colleagues. This is not only done so as to ensure that best practice is followed but also to introduce them into the culture of the organisation and the institution in question. Using accepted NHS mentoring protocols as the literature framework for this study this dissertation charts the experiences of five students at three hospitals within the south-west of England. It records their initial expectations of mentoring their experiences during the mentoring processes and their evaluation of the process thereafter. Through this study a number of recommendations to improve the quality of mentoring is suggested.

Suggested initial topic reading:

  • Holbeche, L. (1996), ‘Peer mentoring: the challenges and opportunities', Career Development International, Vol. 1 (7), pp.24 - 27
  • Stead, V. (2005), ‘Mentoring: a model for leadership development?', International Journal of Training and Development, Vol. 9, pp. 170-184.

Example nursing dissertation topic 2:

Spiritual awareness within nursing skills: A study in palliative care

Palliative care can be defined as the active holistic care of patients with advanced progressive illness. Accordingly, the management of pain and other symptoms and provision of psychological, social and spiritual support is paramount to best practice within palliative care. The goal of palliative care is the achievement of the best quality of life for patients and their families in the little time remaining that they have. Using a range of research stratagems - but primarily interviews with the dying and their relatives - this dissertation gets to the heart of what patients and their loved ones would like from the professionals who look after them. By tackling this sensitive area and doing so in this manner this dissertation is uniquely placed to offer not only insight but recommendations to further support the needs of loved ones and those that they leave behind.

Suggested initial topic reading:

  • Lin, H-R. and Bauer-Wu, S. M. (2003), ‘Psycho-spiritual well-being in patients with advanced cancer: An integrative review of the literature', Journal of Advanced Nursing, Vol. 44, pp. 69-80.
  • Newshan, G. (1998), ‘Transcending the physical: Spiritual aspects of pain in patients with HIV and/or cancer', Journal of Advanced Nursing, Vol. 28, pp. 1236-1241.
  • Ross, L. (2006), ‘Spiritual care in nursing: An overview of the research to date', Journal of Clinical Nursing, Vol. 15, pp. 852-862.

Example nursing dissertation topic 3:

The role of intuition in evidence-based nursing practice

This dissertation adopts an empirical approach and in so doing questions the assumption that clinical assessment and decision making should not rely solely on logical positivist approaches. In so doing, this work builds upon Schon's notion of reflection and evaluates the extent to which the model he proposes can be used with clients who possess severe mental health difficulties. This dissertation suggests that adoption of the Schon model enables a more holistic approach to care to be carried out and accordingly makes a number of recommendations for the advancement of both the processes of clinical decision making and more general practice.

Suggested initial topic reading:

  • McCutcheon, H. H.I. and Pincombe, J. (2001), ‘Intuition: an important tool in the practice of nursing', Journal of Advanced Nursing, Vol. 35, pp. 342-348.
  • Rew, L. (1991), ‘Intuition in Psychiatric-Mental Health Nursing', Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Nursing, Vol.4, pp. 110-115.
  • Smith, A. J., Thurkettle, M. A. and Cruz, F. A. (2004), ‘Use of intuition by nursing students: instrument development and testing', Journal of Advanced Nursing, Vol.47, pp. 614-622.

Example nursing dissertation topic 4:

The incidence of ‘burn-out' in psychiatric nursing

This dissertation has two principal aims. First, it evaluates factors within the work environment that may be seen to directly contribute to the occurrence of burn-out. Secondly, it examines the extent to which the rate of burn-out is lower in public health nurses engaged in general nursing services compared to the level within community psychiatric nursing. This dissertation adopts a case study approach to these questions and accordingly interviews ten of each type of nurses. Thereafter Pines' burn-out scale was used to classify the results obtained and the data transferred to graphs. This subsequently enables a number of recommendations to be proffered as well as the suggestion that further study into the prevalence of burn-out should be undertaken using a larger sample number.

Suggested initial topic reading:

  • Happell, B., Martin, T. and Pinikahana, J. (2003), ‘Burnout and job satisfaction: A comparative study of psychiatric nurses from forensic and a mainstream mental health service', International Journal of Mental Health Nursing, Vol.12, pp. 39-47.
  • Kilfedder, C. J., Power, K. G. and Wells, T. J. (2001), ‘Burnout in psychiatric nursing', Journal of Advanced Nursing, Vol.34, pp. 383-396.
  • McCarthy, P. (1985), ‘Burnout in psychiatric nursing', Journal of Advanced Nursing, Vol.10, pp. 305-310.
  • Melchior, M. E. W., Bours, G. J. J. W., Schmitz, P. and Wittich, Y. (1997), ‘Burnout in psychiatric nursing: a meta-analysis of related variables', Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing, Vol.4, pp. 193-201.

Example nursing dissertation topic 5:

A proposal for a public health programme focussing on stress prevention in the 13-18 year age group

This dissertation interviews 100 teenagers about stress. In so doing a balanced sample is achieved between boys and girls and across each year group. The purpose of the research is to evaluate their perception and trust in the existing approaches to the reduction of stress amongst their age range. These traditional include the advice to: slow down, exercise, get plenty of rest, eat well, listen to music, have a bath, get a massage, or play a musical instrument. Given the lifestyle choices of many teenagers today, this dissertation asks seeks to evaluate the appropriateness of such advice to the way they live their lives and to receive comments the potential patients themselves as to what they seek from help sites aimed at lessening their stress. This is a dynamic interview based dissertation that contains not only the potential to make a valuable contribution to teenage care but also contains a number of ethical considerations that will need to be addressed within the methodology.

Suggested initial topic reading:

  • Bruce, E. (1987), ‘Stress and life events during childhood and adolescence', Clinical Psychology Review, Vol. 7 (3), pp. 275-302.
  • Kragga, G. (1987), ‘School programs targeting stress management in children and adolescents: A meta-analysis', Journal of School Psychology, Vol. 44 (6), pp. 449-472.
  • Mindick, B., Oskamp, S., and Berger, D.E. (1977), ‘Prediction of success or failure in birth planning: An approach to prevention of individual and family stress', American Journal of Community Psychology, Vol. 5, (4), pp. 447-459.

Example nursing dissertation topic 6:

An evaluation of current pain management in paediatric nursing: A Turkish case study

The role that nurses play in managing the pain of children is pivotal. Accurate assessment and the evaluation of pain relief measures are pre-requisites to a health and fast recovery. This dissertation seeks to measure existing attitudes to children's pain within paediatric units in Turkey. In so doing 50 nurses are interviewed and asked a series of questions relating to official guidelines as to the management and evaluation of pain within children. It is expected that the results of the study will provide an abundance of suggestions for further in-house training opportunities to ensure that all nurses involved in paediatric care delivery service in accordance with best practice.

Suggested initial topic reading:

  • Demir, A. (2007), ‘The use of physical restraints on children: practices and attitudes of paediatric nurses in Turkey', International Nursing Review, Vol. 54, pp. 367-374.
  • Güdücü Tüfekci, F., Çelebioğlu, A. and Küçükoğlu, S. (2009), ‘Turkish children loved distraction: Using kaleidoscopes to reduce perceived pain during venipuncture', Journal of Clinical Nursing, Vol.18, pp. 2180-2186.

Example nursing dissertation topic 7:

Nursing approaches to a refusal to eat in the elderly

A refusal to eat is the most common eating disorder in the elderly. The consequences of such refusals can be life threatening with malnutrition and weight loss being amongst the top three consequences. The underlying reasons behind refusing to eat may however be complex requiring careful and repeated assessment of the social and psychological state of the patient in question. This dissertation uses not only secondary research but also interviews with nurses to evaluate both best theoretical practice and practice reality techniques to overcome this most distressing of conditions within the elderly. 

Suggested initial topic reading:

  • Duggal, A. and Lawrence, R. M. (2001) ‘Aspects of food refusal in the elderly: The hunger strike', International Journal of Eating Disorders, Vol. 30, pp. 213-216.
  • Marcus, E.-L. and Berry, E. M. (1998) ‘Refusal to eat in the elderly', Nutrition Reviews, Vol. 56, pp. 163-171.
  • Mattiasson, A.-C. and Andersson, L. (1994) ‘Staff attitude and experience in dealing with rational nursing home patients who refuse to eat and drink', Journal of Advanced Nursing, Vol. 20: 822-827.

Example nursing dissertation topic 8:

Management of extreme weather circumstances: Perspectives from community care nursing

The effects of weather on patient care within the elderly are well known: particularly with regard to excess heat in summer or extreme cold in winter. This dissertation uses interviews with health care professionals and home-help service users in Dartford, Kent to evaluate the nature of care given to the elderly in their homes and the special requirements that adverse weather conditions cause. This dissertation suggests that the problems for care in the home associated with extreme weather are an oft neglected aspect of nursing and community care. Accordingly, a number of proposals are made particularly with regard to the need to ensure that access to patients can always be achieved and the potential need to transfer them to specially commissioned properties in times of unremitting adverse weather conditions.

Suggested initial topic reading:

  • Åström, D.O., Forsberg, B. and Rocklöv, J. (2011) ‘Heat wave impact on morbidity and mortality in the elderly population: a review of recent studies', Maturitas, Vol. 69(2), pp. 99-105.
  • Hajat, S., Kovats, R.S. and Lachowycz, K. (2007) ‘Heat-related and cold-related deaths in England and Wales: Who is at risk?' Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Vol. 64, pp. 93-100.
  • Huynen, M.M., Martens, P., Schram, D. Weijenberg, M.P. and Kunst, A.E. (2001) ‘The impact of heat waves and cold spells on mortality rates in the Dutch population', Environmental Health Perspectives, Vol. 109(5), pp. 463-470.

Example nursing dissertation topic 9:

Treating feet wounds in diabetic cases: Best practice nursing techniques

As a multisystem disorder, diabetes affects the process by which wounds heal.
Healing may be delayed as a consequence of psychological changes in tissues and consequently, it is imperative that nursing professionals are aware of the best practice by which to manage and treat diabetic wounds. Building on the work of existing research this dissertation offers a practice based review of treatment being offered at a teaching hospital in the north-west of England and evaluates the extent to which it confirms to best practice guidelines. Given the breadth of research on diabetes this dissertation focuses particularly on the problems of wounds to feet and legs. This is, accordingly, a dissertation that has the potential to make a number of key recommendations to ensure that patient care is always maximised.

Suggested initial topic reading:

  • Apelqvist, J. and Larsson, J. (2000) ‘What is the most effective way to reduce incidence of amputation in the diabetic foot?' Diabetes: Metabolism, Results and Review, Vol. 16: pp. S75-S83.
  • Boulton, A. J., Meneses, P. and Ennis, W. J. (1999) ‘Diabetic foot ulcers: A framework for prevention and care', Wound Repair and Regeneration, Vol. 7: pp. 7-16.
  • Kantor, J. and Margolis, D. J. (2000) ‘The accuracy of using a wound care specialty clinic database to study diabetic neuropathic foot ulcers', Wound Repair and Regeneration, Vol. 8: pp. 169-173.
  • Lipsky, B. A. (2004) ‘A report from the international consensus on diagnosing and treating the infected diabetic foot', Diabetes: Metabolism, Results and Review, Vol. 20: pp. S68-S77.

Example nursing dissertation topic 10:

The assessment of pain through non-verbal indicators: Nursing patients with severe communication challenges

This dissertation initially offers an overview of pain and pain assessment methods currently being utilised within a teaching hospital in London. The rationale behind the dissertation is that those patients with severe developmental or intellectual disabilities not only suffer from the same diseases as non-disabled members of the public but that in their treatment they are additionally handicapped through a lack of direct communicative skills. As a result they may face higher levels of pain than those suffered by the general public because they cannot so readily self-report their symptoms. Using a range of primary data collection techniques this dissertation offers an insight into the difficulties that patients and practitioners face on a day to day to day basis and through that offers a range of comments as to how to further improve the services and protocols already in operation.

Suggested initial topic reading:

  • Lorish, C. D. and Maisiak, R. (1986) ‘The face scale: A brief, nonverbal method for assessing patient mood', Arthritis & Rheumatism, Vol. 29: pp. 906-909.
  • Stolee, P., Hillier, L. M., Esbaugh, J., Bol, N., McKellar, L. and Gauthier, N. (2005) ‘Instruments for the assessment of pain in older persons with cognitive impairment', Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, Vol. 53: pp. 319-326.
  • Zwakhalen, S. M.G., Van Dongen, K. A.J., Hamers, J. P.H. and Abu-Saad, H. H. (2004) ‘Pain assessment in intellectually disabled people: non-verbal indicators', Journal of Advanced Nursing, Vol. 45: pp. 236-245.

Example nursing dissertation topic 11:

An evaluation of stress in nursing placements

This dissertation adopts a predominantly primary research approach to the subject area. Using a combination of semi-structured interviews and formal interviews with both trainee nurses and their mentors, this dissertation measures levels of stress amongst trainee nurses within a hospital in Leeds. Through the results achieved it is envisaged that the study will be able to proffer a range of proactive measures that could be introduced to both help ease stress (from an institutional basis) as well as an array of individual stress coping strategies for those embarking upon their careers within the profession.

Suggested initial topic reading:

  • Jones, M. C. and Johnston, D. W. (1997) ‘Distress, stress and coping in first-year student nurses', Journal of Advanced Nursing, Vol. 26: pp. 475-482.
  • Deary, I. J., Watson, R. and Hogston, R. (2003) ‘A longitudinal cohort study of burnout and attrition in nursing students', Journal of Advanced Nursing, Vol. 43: pp. 71-81.
  • Clarke, C. L., Gibb, C. E. and Ramprogus, V. (2003) ‘Clinical learning environments: an evaluation of an innovative role to support preregistration nursing placements', Learning in Health and Social Care, Vol. 2: pp. 105-115.

Example nursing dissertation topic 12:

Co-operative working strategies between registered nurses and care assistants: An observational study

Registered nurses have strict obligations under the code of conduct of the Nursing and Midwifery Council. Health care assistants are not regulated; thus issues can arise between the two groups when working together as each may not understand the imperatives that drive them. This study examines some of the problems that both registered nurses and care assistants experience - from both sides of the equation - and considers ways that co-operative working may be better achieved. It examines practices that are already existing and interviews a range of nurses and care assistants to make recommendations of coping mechanisms.

Suggested initial topic reading:

  • Keeney, S., Hasson, F., McKenna, H. and Gillen, P. (2005) ‘Nurses', midwives' and patients' perceptions of trained health care assistants', Journal of Advanced Nursing, Vol. 50: pp. 345-355.
  • Seago, J.A. and Faucett, J. (1997) ‘Job strain among registered nurses and other hospital workers', Journal of Nursing Administration, Vol. 27(5), pp. 19-25.
  • Thornley, C. (2000) ‘A question of competence? Re-evaluating the roles of the nursing auxiliary and health care assistant in the NHS', Journal of Clinical Nursing, Vol. 9(3), pp. 451-458.

Example nursing dissertation topic 13:

Changes in HIV/AIDS public health programmes: A comparison between 1985-1995 and 2000-2010

In the mid-eighties, awareness of AIDS and HIV was an important issue for public health. Since then, the form of awareness programmes has changed. Yet, particularly given the influx of immigrants to the UK, the challenges for public health care in the arena still exist. Little research has been done that compares the efficacy of previous programmes in the earlier era of AIDS/HIV awareness, and the programmes that run currently; this is problematic when taken into consideration with changes in audience. This dissertation undertakes a comprehensive review of the policies and effects of the public health programmes in the two stated periods and draws conclusions for more effective awareness in the future.

Suggested initial topic reading:

  • Brown, L., Macintyre, K. and Trujillo, L. (2003) ‘Interventions to reduce HIV/AIDS stigma: What have we learned?' AIDS Education and Prevention, Vol. 15(1), pp. 49-69.
  • Cranston, K. (1992) ‘HIV education for gay, lesbian, and bisexual youth:
  • Myrhe, S.L. and Flora, J.A. (2000) ‘HIV/AIDS communication campaigns: Progress and prospects', Journal of Health Communication: International Perspectives, Vol. 5(1), pp. 29-45.
  • Personal risk, personal power, and the community of conscience', Journal of Homosexuality, Vol. 22(3-4), pp. 247-259.

Example nursing dissertation topic 14:

Returning to work: Challenges for nurses re-joining the profession after a protracted absence

Returning to work after a protracted absence can be stressful for all employees, regardless of gender or profession. However, in nursing, particularly given the environment of change under the Coalition Government, a return to work can highlight gaps in knowledge that can cause additional stresses as nurses seek to provide the best possible care for patients. The majority of research undertaken in this topic focuses on a return to work after maternity leave; this study, however, seeks to report on the challenges faced by male nurses (perhaps after paternity leave, illness, or a change of career), as well as older nurses who may have been out of the profession for more than two years. Utilising existing research through a literature review, this dissertation also employs a variety of primary research methods, such as interviewing, focus groups, and surveys to break new ground.

Suggested initial topic reading:

  • Davey, B., Murrells, T. and Robinson, S. (2005) ‘Returning to work after maternity leave: UK nurses' motivations and preferences', Work Employment & Society, Vol. 19(2), pp. 327-348.
  • Nachreiner, N.M., Dagher, R.K., McGovern, P.M., Baker, B.A., Alexander, B.H. and Gerberich, S.G. (2007) ‘Successful return to work for cancer survivors', Journal of the American Association of Occupational Health Nurses, Vol. 55(7), pp. 290-295.

Example nursing dissertation topic 15:

Improving the public's perception of hospital-based nursing care

During this time of austerity measures, the public's perception of public service bodies can be conflicted. Although they may seek to support institutions such as the NHS, and concomitantly those who work therein, the public also wishes to feel that they are receiving ‘value for money'. Accordingly, this study examines, through a process of surveys and in-depth interviews, how many patients feel about the nursing care they received during a hospital stay in a large urban teaching hospital. Based on those results, the dissertation develops various recommendations that may be undertaken by both the profession as a wider body, by the NHS, or by individual nurses, to improve their public profile.

Suggested initial topic reading:

  • Carmel, S. (1985) ‘Satisfaction with hospitalization: A comparative analysis of three types of services', Social Science & Medicine, Vol. 21(11), pp. 1243-1249.
  • Chang, K. (2011) ‘Patient-perception of nursing care quality in the hospital setting: Instrument development', Research Working Paper, Virginia Henderson International Nursing Library.
  • Wagner, D. and Bear, M. (2009) ‘Patient satisfaction with nursing care: A concept analysis within a nursing framework', Journal of Advanced Nursing, Vol. 65, pp. 692-701.

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