MSN Student projects

All students in the MSN program complete a poster as part of their final project. Here are some sample projects by year of graduation:

MSN projects

Sample MSN Projects 2018


Lauren Connolly, MSN, RN
Project Title: 
Individualizing Care for Pediatric Patients with Autism Spectrum Disorder in Perioperative Services | USF access only
Abstract: Venous thromboembolisms (VTEs) contribute considerably to hospitalization-related deaths in the United States. In October 2008, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services stopped reimbursing hospitals for the cost of treating hospital-acquired VTEs. This motivates hospital leaders to emphasize VTE prophylaxis. One metropolitan, Level 1 Trauma hospital sought to decrease VTE incidence by ensuring every bed in the hospital has a sequential compression device (SCD) machine. An assessment of the focus unit revealed this one-to-one bed to machine ratio was not maintained, nursing compliance and documentation related to SCD utilization was low, and SCD machines were not consistently monitored. This project sought to determine the root cause for missing SCD machines, increase SCD utilization through ensuring SCD machine accessibility, and increase nursing documentation rates concerning SCD utilization. SCD audits were conducted throughout the project to analyze SCD location and utilization. Nursing surveys were disseminated to understand baseline SCD usage and workflow. A multiple-component intervention was devised, including: educational nursing in-services on a VTE case study, posting educational VTE and broken SCD machine flyers, and rolling out a SCD monitoring tool. Post-surveys with the nursing staff were conducted to evaluate the intervention in addition to ongoing SCD audits.Though these results were found to be statistically insignificant, SCD audits (pre-intervention n=99, post-intervention n=68) revealed a 9% increase in SCDs that were found to be on the patient. Additionally, there was an 8% decrease in the number of SCDs that were most recently charted as observed on the patient more than 24 hours prior. The efforts of this project demonstrate the potential efficacy of increased SCD machine understanding and accountability on prevention of hospital-acquired VTEs.

Christopher Haupt, MSN, RN
Project title: Improvements on Fall Risk Assessment to Promote Patient and Employee Safety | View online
Abstract: This study focuses on the implementation of the Hendrich II Fall Risk Model and the Patient Mobility Assessment Tool (PMAT) at an urban California Bay Area hospital. Assessments were performed on 74 patients (n = 74) between January 2018 and April 2018. Cohort 22 determined that the Hendrich II test with introductions took an average of 01:49 minutes to conduct. It was also determined that it took and average of 03:12 minutes to conduct the PMAT. 88.19% (66/74) patients correctly estimated their level of mobility. This indicates that nurses can adequately trust a patient’s judgment, but still should conduct mobility assessments to minimize injury to patients and staff. Lastly, educational videos were created for the purpose of training new nurses and retraining currently-employed nurses. These findings were presented to the facility’s falls committee.

Erin Scheller, MSN, RN
Project title: "Individualizing Care for Pediatric Patients with Autism Spectrum Disorder in Perioperative Services" | View online
Abstract: This research explores solutions for individualizing and improving care for pediatric patients with Autism Spectrum Disorder in the Perioperative Setting of an Outpatient Surgery Center. Specifically, it seeks to determine if providing parent and staff resources on Autism Spectrum Disorder is significantly helpful in increasing confidence in the staff by the parents and the staff themselves. Participants included thirty-five surveyed families who had pediatric patients visiting perioperative services and staff who work on the unit. Methods used include information dissemination with the use of printable and online evidence-based resources, an in-person education event for staff, and a pilot study of a parent questionnaire. Data collection showed that 72.7% of families thought that staff was better prepared to care for their child due to the piloted parent questionnaire. Additionally, of the staff that provided feedback after the in-service ASD education event, the majority indicated that their confidence in preparedness in caring for children with behavioral diagnoses was improved. Overall, this paper shows that an increase in staff and family confidence in staff’s ability to care for patients with Autism Spectrum Disorder did improve after project implementation.

Kathryne Crawford Thomas, MSN, RN
Project title: Improving the Transition from Intravenous to Subcutaneous Insulin in Critically Ill Hospitalized Patients | View online
Abstract: Many critically ill patients experience hyperglycemia as a result of physiological stress or as a consequence of diabetes mellitus. Once the condition of the critically ill hospitalized patient has stabilized, it is imperative to transition this patient from intravenous to subcutaneous insulin. The American Association for Clinical Endocrinologists, the American College of Endocrinologists and the American Diabetes Association have all provided guidelines for this transition process.

Sample MSN Projects 2017


Hannah Barry, MSN, RN
Current Job: Case Manager, Stanford Health
Project title: Increasing CLABSI Bundle Compliance in the NICU | View online
Abstract: Central lines are frequently used in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) for the administration of medications and total parenteral nutrition (TPN). Central line-associated blood stream infections (CLABSIs) have the potential to cause harm in the vulnerable neonate. Current evidence shows that having a CLABSI bundle compliance rate of 95 percent or greater correlates with a reduction in CLABSI occurrences. The purpose of this project is to increase compliance to CLABSI prevention practices in the NICU through education and ongoing central line audits. Baseline line audit data revealed an 80 percent compliance rate (n = 50) and 50 percent of nurses answered at least one question incorrectly in a survey of the central line care protocol (n = 10). Post-intervention data showed an increase in CLABSI bundle compliance to 91 percent (n =24). Additionally, after taking a 1-hour CLABSI prevention class, 20 percent of nurses answered at least one question incorrectly on the protocol survey (n = 5). During the time of this study, there were no CLABSIs. It is recommended that central line audits continue in order to monitor for potential CLABSI risks. It is also recommended that ongoing CLABSI prevention education be provided to nursing staff in order to achieve a 95 percent compliance rate.

Courtney Sumanqui, MSN, RN
Current job: Clinical Nurse, Cedars - Sinai
Project title: Improving Early Sepsis Identification on Inpatient Units | View online
Abstract: Sepsis is a medical emergency that if left untreated can rapidly cause death for many patients due to effects that this systemic infection has on the human body. Millions of Americans nationwide are affected by sepsis on an annual basis. To reduce the number of patients who decline to sepsis in the hospital, efficient sepsis protocols must be effectively implemented throughout the hospital. Healthcare organizations must dedicate themselves to providing high quality patient care from the time of admission to discharge. This quality improvement project focused on improving early sepsis identification on inpatient units.

Livneet K. Takhar, MSN, RN
Current Job: Registered Nurse, Sutter Health
Project title: CNL as Educator: Justifying the Need for a Certified Diabetes Educator on the Medical Surgical/Telemetry Unit | View online
Abstract: This improvement project aims to justify the need for a certified diabetes educator (CDE) on the medical surgical/telemetry unit of a rural community hospital. A microsystem and gap analysis indicates lack of comprehensive, efficient and effective diabetes care education. The clinical nurse leader (CNL) conducted a learning needs assessment and pilot education project to integrate tasks of a CDE into the microsystem. Patients participated if they spoke English as their native language, met the criteria of a new diagnosis of diabetes, uncontrolled blood sugars, or hemoglobin A1C of 6.5% or higher. Thirty-minute education sessions were provided to twenty patients and/or families at the bedside, incorporating lifestyle modifications, diet control, potential disease complications, exercise, and medication management. Pre and posttests were completed based on self-management education to determine if teaching was effective. One hundred percent of patients increased their pre to post test scores after receiving structured inpatient diabetes care education. Results from this learning needs assessment and financial impact estimation suggest that engaging a CDE as part of the care team would advance diabetes self-management education and improve patient outcomes. A recommendation would be for the CNL to function in the role of CDE in this microsystem for a one-year pilot project. Based on the results, a business plan for a new full-time CDE is planned.


Sample MSN Projects 2016

Karen Ha, MSN, RN
Current job: Registered Nurse, UCSF Medical Center
Project title: Preventing and Reducing CLABSI with Daily 2% CHG Wipes | View online
Abstract: This project aims to decrease central line associated bloodstream infections in pediatric patients my microsystem hospital. The process begins re-enforcing daily CHG (2% Chlorhexidine Gluconate) wipes to 100% compliance rates on our patients with central lines tailored to their age and body weights. The process ends with reducing the CLABSI rates of our unit and the entire hospital to 0. By working on the process we expect personal and organizational commitment to transform the culture of safety through integration of standardized communication, issue escalation, non punitive response to errors, rounding by all leaders, and culture of continuous improvement. It is important to work on this now because central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSI) needlessly afflict thousands of patients each year, lengthening hospital stays, and complicating the course of recovery.

Ailee Tran, MSN, RN
Current job: Clinical Nurse, Regional Medical Center of San Jose
Project title: Implementing Change to Decrease the Re-admission Rate for Clients of a Care Transition Program | View online
Abstract: The clinical nurse leader (CNL) internship project’s purpose is to implement a change to decrease readmission for clients in a care transition program, thereby improving quality of life. This care transition program aids with the transition from hospital to home for adults. The microsystem is composed of public health nurses, volunteers, student interns, supervisors, and an administrative assistant. The aim statement for this change project is to improve patient safety by decreasing readmission rates by implementing an initial follow-up phone call within one day of discharge in 75% of the care transition clients by April 30, 2016. This project was based on research articles that stated that readmission rates were decreased with a follow-up phone call. Melton et al. (2012) state that the patients who received a follow-up phone call within one day had a “22% relative reduction in all-cause readmissions” in comparison to those who received a follow-up call within two days (p. 838). The microsystem was given education regarding the change project and streamlining the process of opening the charts. Upon evaluation of the clients referred in March and April, the clients that received a follow-up phone call within one day of discharge was 71.4%. Using the information gathered in this study, this care transition program can improve other care transition programs and thereby decrease readmission rates and increase quality of life.


Sample MSN Projects 2015

Elizabeth Chicca, MSN, RN
Current job: Registered Nurse, Kaiser Permanente
Project title: Increase Access to Healthcare and Decrease Health Disparities| View Online
Abstract: My project aims to improve access to healthcare for the underserved population living in San Francisco’s Tenderloin District by reconnecting them to a Primary Care Provider through the "Patient Advocacy Program" aka, "Abundant Life Program," at City Impact’s Health and Wellness Clinic.

Shaleena Kumar, MSN, RN
Current job: Registered Nurse, US Department of Veterans Affairs
Project title: Hypertension Management Through Patient Education | View Online
Abstract: Hypertension serves as a common diagnosis among Americans, and its management to prevent further cardiovascular complications remains as an organizational goal. To prevent complications, the goal of a Primary Care Provider’s patient panel maintaining a blood pressure less than 140/90 has been established on the organization’s national office. In the Primary Care Clinic, an interdisciplinary team consisting of a Registered Nurse, Clinical Psychologist, and Cardiologist implemented a group education class aimed at a Hypertensive Veteran cohort. The purpose of this project is to improve self-management behaviors in the Veteran population, and to help increase the hypertension performance metric by 2% one month after class implementation. Blood pressure readings were measured before and after the class, as well as the percentage of well-controlled hypertensive patients on the Primary Care Dashboard. Data collection revealed a 2.2% performance increase one month after the class implementation; this reflects an improvement in the Primary Care Provider’s ability to manage his hypertensive cohort, while also indicating an overall increase in the number of hypertensive patients whose systolic blood pressure was lower than 140 mmHg, and diastolic blood pressure lower than 90 mmHg.

Tessa A. Toscano, MSN, RN
Current job: Registered Nurse, UCSF Medical Center
Project title: Reducing CLABSI in the NICU with IV Tubing Competency | View online
Abstract: Central line-associated bloodstream infection (CLABSI) is a significant problem in a Level IV neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) on the West Coast of California. A MSN student joined a team consisting of the unit’s nursing manager, nursing educator, clinical nurse specialist (CNS), and CNS student. Literature review highlighted the association between the development of CLABSI and the practice of changing central line intravenous (IV) tubing. Five interviews of nurses and 15 observations of nurses performing IV tubing change revealed practice variations within six major steps of the procedure. The team revised the IV tubing change policy to improve comprehension and feasibility and then educated nurses on the changes. The team sought to eliminate variations and standardize practice by designing a competency for IV tubing change that requires all nurses to perform the procedure as an instructor observes for accuracy with every step of the new policy. Evaluation of the competency is ongoing, but follow up questions include: (1) Have all nurses successfully passed the competency? (2) Are nurses maintaining compliance with the new policy after completion of the competency? (3) Has the CLABSI rate decreased in response to the competency?