Benchmark 2 – Professional Capstone And Practicum Reflective Journal

Professional Capstone

Students are required to maintain weekly reflective narratives throughout the course to combine into one course-long reflective journal that integrates leadership and inquiry into current practice as it applies to the Professional Capstone and Practicum course.

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Professional Capstone
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In your journal, you will reflect on the personal knowledge and skills gained throughout this course. The journal should address a variable combination of the following, depending on your specific practice immersion clinical experiences:

  1. New practice approaches
  2. Intraprofessional collaboration
  3. Health care delivery and clinical systems
  4. Ethical considerations in health care
  5. Population health concerns
  6. The role of technology in improving health care outcomes
  7. Health policy
  8. Leadership and economic models
  9. Health disparities

Students will outline what they have discovered about their professional practice, personal strengths and weaknesses that surfaced, additional resources and abilities that could be introduced to a given situation to influence optimal outcomes, and finally, how the student met the competencies aligned to this course.

APA style is required for the body of this assignment, solid academic writing is expected, and in-text citations and references should be presented using APA documentation guidelines.


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Professional Capstone



Capstone Project Topic Selection and Approval: Childhood Obesity




Capstone Project Topic Selection and Approval: Childhood Obesity

Obesity is one of the major public health issues that affect many societies today. Reducing the prevalence of obesity is one of the objectives of America’s Healthy people 2020 initiative as this has been determined to be a significant cause of many health issues in the society. While obesity affects all demographics, there has been a significant increase in the prevalence of this public health issue among children.

Many children are emerging with Body Mass Index (BMI) that are above the 95th percentile, which is an indication of a higher risk of many lifestyle-related illnesses (Hoelscher et al., 2015). Children are part of the vulnerable members of the population; hence, a lot of strategies need to be put in place to ensure that they are protected from public health issues by their guardians and other people responsible in their lives. This project aims at evaluating the problem of childhood obesity in America, its extent, impact, and possible solution.

Childhood Obesity in America

Professional Capstone

The rate of childhood obesity has increased significantly during the past few decades. America has one of the highest rates of childhood obesity in the world, a figure that has tripled over the past three decades (Karnik & Kanekar, 2012). One out of every six children in the United States is obese while one out of every three is overweight. The rate of overall obesity in children has been steady since 2008, but there have been significant changes within different demographic groups. Some groups have a higher rate compared to others.

Among socio-economic groups, the high income earning groups including families living 400% above the poverty level have the lowest rate of childhood obesity with 11.9% (Ogden et al., 2012). The groups living under the poverty rate has the highest rate of 21%. In terms of racial/ethnic characteristics, the Asian, non-Hispanic population has the lowest rate of obesity with a 9.8% rate (Ogden et al., 2012). Hispanics have the highest rate at 23.6% followed by the blacks at 20.7% and whites at 14.7% (Ogden et al., 2012). Although at different rates, all population groups in the U.S. have a significantly high risk of childhood obesity, which makes this a major public health issue in the country.

Impact of Childhood Obesity

Professional Capstone

The most significant impact of childhood obesity is the numerous health risks that it exposes children to. Obese children have a higher risk of being affected by the following health issues. The risk of Type 2 Diabetes is increased significantly when a child is overweight (Sahoo et al., 2015). They are exposed to cardiovascular problems such as heart disease and stroke (Ayer et al. 2015). They may develop issues with their respiratory systems such as sleep apnea and asthma. Obesity is also associated with musculoskeletal discomfort and joint issues.

Aside from the health issues, obesity is also associated with psychological, social, and emotional issues in children. Children may develop low self-esteem as a result of their bigger body type, which is generally perceived as less desirable in the society today (Sabin & Kiess, 2015). They may also experience bullying and issues in the social environment. These issues lead to problems such as depression and anxiety at a young age, problems which are sometimes maintained until adulthood (Pulgaron, 2013).

The significance of the Problem

Childhood obesity has been established to be a serious problem for children. Studying this topic has positive implications because it helps to determine the extent of the issue in America, establish the patterns of the problem between groups, and the causes of the patterns. Therefore, this topic is important because it helps to develop strategies for dealing with this issues and helping to improve the health of many children in America. This can be helpful for both public health professionals and parents in dealing with the major issue of obesity that continues to affect a large percentage of children.

Proposed Solution for Childhood Obesity

The proposed solution for reducing childhood obesity is exercising more government control over the fast foods and snacks industry. One of the main cause of childhood obesity is the quality of food that children have access to (Roberto et al., 2015). Fast foods and most of the snacks on the market today supply children with the excess sugars and fats, which cause their weight issues.

Control over this market will reduce access to these products for the children. The best control for this market is an increase in taxes for companies in the industry so that their products can be more expensive, and hence, less accessible to people in the market. When fewer people can access unhealthy foods then there will be a reduction in the rate of obesity.


Ayer, J., Charakida, M., Deanfield, J. E., & Celermajer, D. S. (2015). Lifetime risk: childhood obesity and cardiovascular risk. European heart journal36(22), 1371-1376.

Hoelscher, D. M., Butte, N. F., Barlow, S., Vandewater, E. A., Sharma, S. V., Huang, T., … & Oluyomi, A. O. (2015). Incorporating primary and secondary prevention approaches to address childhood obesity prevention and treatment in a low-income, ethnically diverse population: study design and demographic data from the Texas Childhood Obesity Research Demonstration (TX CORD) study. Childhood obesity11(1), 71-91.

Karnik, S., & Kanekar, A. (2012). Childhood obesity: a global public health crisis. Int J Prev Med3(1), 1-7.

Ogden, C. L., Carroll, M. D., Kit, B. K., & Flegal, K. M. (2012). Prevalence of obesity and trends in body mass index among US children and adolescents, 1999-2010. Jama307(5), 483-490.

Pulgaron, E. R. (2013). Childhood obesity: a review of increased risk for physical and psychological comorbidities. Clinical Therapeutics35(1), A18-A32.

Roberto, C. A., Swinburn, B., Hawkes, C., Huang, T. T., Costa, S. A., Ashe, M., … & Brownell, K. D. (2015). Patchy progress on obesity prevention: emerging examples, entrenched barriers, and new thinking. The Lancet385(9985), 2400-2409.

Sabin, M. A., & Kiess, W. (2015). Childhood obesity: current and novel approaches. Best Practice & Research Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism29(3), 327-338.

Sahoo, K., Sahoo, B., Choudhury, A. K., Sofi, N. Y., Kumar, R., & Bhadoria, A. S. (2015). Childhood obesity: causes and consequences. Journal of family medicine and primary care4(2), 187.



Nursing Reflective Journal




Nursing Reflective Journal


Nurses operate in settings that are characterized by challenges and complexities. The knowledge and practical experiences that I have amassed have enable me to overcome the complexities of health care systems in order to deliver services to patients and disadvantaged populations. Therefore, my experiences dealing with patients in different healthcare settings have provided me with opportunities to sharpen my professional and leadership skills.

For a baccalaureate prepared nurse who anticipates working within a variety of settings, I can no longer afford to rely solely on my expertise in training, nor naïve optimism relating to collaboration and cooperation.

Therefore, my learning and practical experiences have improved my ability to exercise leadership skills and contribute to the delivery of effective healthcare services to vulnerable groups. I have also been able to master the context of the healthcare system in which I provide my roles within the systemic structure of healthcare organization.

New Practice Approaches

The field of nursing has undergone major changes in the last decades. As a baccalaureate prepared nurse, I have learned to adapt to the changes in order to remain relevant in my effort to provide excellent services to patients. For instance, the continued use of evidence-based practice in nursing has been helpful to deal with health problems such as asthma, heart attack, diabetes, and obesity (Kristensen, Nymann & Konradsen, 2015).

However, I have noted that such principles are not adequately embraced in care delivery and various practices abound. Within a traditional setting, patient safety studies have emphasized on evaluation of records to assess patient safety

issues and to demonstrate that new practices will result in enhanced quality and patient safety. In particular, I have learned that nursing is a field that is rich with practices that recommend the use of empirical studies. Today, the nursing profession has offered major leadership for improving care through the utilization of findings in practice.

The continued use of evidence-based practice in the field of nursing has revolutionized healthcare in various ways. Institutions of higher learning are increasingly recognizing the significance of this recent trend by introducing changes to

their nursing programs in order to take into account evidence-based practice. As a student who pursues a degree in nursing, course materials that focus not just on improving the nurse’s entire knowledge, but also enhancing the significance of professional transparency is important.

Such initiatives stress on the need for a nurse to make informed decisions and promote the consideration of the patients’ clinical, ethnic and spiritual backgrounds in relation to their health. The continued utilization of evidence-based practice in healthcare has also resulted in renewed focus on nursing studies.

Although nursing programs may be comprised of at least a single or more courses associated with research, it is the task of learners to identify the significance of improving their skills.

While I have observed that conducting research is not a regular endeavor for a nurse, it is important to understand issues that are relevant to new scientific evidences because this can provide major impacts on present and future career development.

One popular evidence-based framework that is extensively used is the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) patient safety framework (Titler, 2008). This framework offers a safety research portfolio to health care delivery.

Interprofessional Collaboration

Health care tasks are often complex, multifaceted and burdensome for one professional to accomplish. A single problem may require the input of many groups of people drawn from different areas of specialty. This is one of the most interesting learning experiences that I observed. The role of nursing in leading change and advancing health cannot be questioned (Sullivan et al. 2015). Therefore, a nurse must understand that no single person can perform all these functions alone.

Most significantly, I have learned that interprofessional collaboration goes beyond the practical healthcare setting to include educational contexts (Sullivan et al. 2015). Contemporary healthcare institutions need sophisticated organizational systems that depend on the interrelationship and integrations of many services that are offered by various caregivers. Each of these caregivers have their respective areas of professionalism and emphasis.

Interprofessional collaboration is essential for the fruitful solving of problems of improving medicine and technology, reduced resources, as well as the widening demand for healthcare services. Nurses also operate in such contexts in which multidisciplinary

professional collaboration takes place not just relating to the care of individual clients, but also when it comes to provision of support to system-wide procedures and activities. Interprofessional collaboration is essential both within small units and major health companies that have big departments among experts at clinical and management areas.

In a healthcare sector that is characterized by increasing demand for transparency and accountability, nurses are expected to assess the degree of standard of care that they offer. The beneficial survival of patients in a problematic and competitive world requires that healthcare institutions’ performances indicate the highest possible levels of care without having to sacrifice high costs.

Interprofessional collaboration improves the possibility that good standards of care can be efficiently attained, irrespective of the costs and nature of teams that come together to address health problems.

Ethical Considerations in Healthcare

Nurses often struggle with the ethical challenges related to patient care. As a result, ethical problems and issues may arise within any healthcare circumstance in which deep moral questions of rightness or wrongness under professional decision-making and the beneficent care of patients (Ulrich et al. 2010). As a nurse, I learned the importance of understanding the ethical climate and culture of the healthcare institution that I was operating.

Ethical culture can be regarded as the manner in which ethical matters and circumstances that create ethical problems or concerns are dealt with in an institution. Ethical practices in the field of nursing can be maintained by seeking consultations from ethical experts. These experts play an integral role in the development of a collection of code of ethics that contain guidelines and recommendations that can be used to respond to ethical concerns.

In the event that an ethical problem occurs, it is important to conform to a good ethical climate that makes up employee perceptions on how major decisions that have ethical contents are handled, discussed, and addressed. The nurse has both individual and collective responsibility to establish, maintain, and improve the ethical environments of the practical contexts and conditions of employment that are supportive to secure, high standard health care.

This responsibility enables a nurse to uphold the significance of an ethical environment where the ethical practices of nurse practitioners and other healthcare professionals is important to meet the preferences and objectives of patients and their family members.

Health Disparities

While it is the duty of the nurse to ensure that health services are accessible to all patient populations, advancing of health equity agenda has faced various challenges. For instance, there are racial-based inequalities that people face in their access to health. The perception of the US as a post racial country is inaccurate (Anderson, 2012).  Therefore, two general approaches can be employed to reduce inequalities in access to health services.

Health disparities emerge when certain groups of people enjoy better health services and access to health than others. This often reflects in differences in death rates among various populations that make up the United States. Disparities are mainly brought about by inequalities in people’s levels of income across the entire population.

For instance, poor blacks may face the challenge of accessing better health services than middle class whites. Nurses can play a major role in examining and investigating health inequalities through a process referred to as selection.

Selection can be described as the tendency that individuals have to group themselves in terms of their residential places, social gatherings, and other forms of clustering. For instance, individuals who like to engage in physical activities are most likely to reside in areas where they can walk, whereas those who like to isolate themselves or stay indoors often opt for auto-reliant estates. This plays a major role in the differences in health among members who belong to varying levels of income.

For instance, those who are rich and live sedentary lifestyles are most likely to face cardiovascular diseases, obesity, and diabetes compared to their counterparts in poor neighborhoods who have to walk for long distances.

This phenomenon is in some situations viewed as an explanation for academic, professional, or ethnic disparities in health. For instance, some scholars may seek to understand the interrelationships between socioeconomic status as an outcome of selection by asserting that genetically superior people are most likely to enjoy better health and high Intelligence Quotient.

This suggests why most intellectuals and those who have high socioeconomic status are healthier. However, my observation is that geographical factors can play a major role in increasing health inequalities in the country. This can be viewed in terms of the contextual and compositional impacts.

Contextual issues often affect a neighborhood whereas compositional factors are basically representative of the nature of people in terms o their surroundings or other contexts. For instance, in case a specialized healthcare institution attracts high number or chronically ill occupants of a particular neighborhood, the poor health status of these neighborhoods in comparison to immediate surroundings can be compositional.


Anderson, K. M. (2012). How Far Have We Come in Reducing Health Disparities?: Progress

Since 2000: Workshop Summary. New York: National Academies Press.

Gordon, J. M., Lorilla, J. D., & Lehman, C. A. (2012). The role of the clinical nurse specialist in

the future of health care in the United States. Perioperative Nursing Clinics7(3), 343-


Kristensen, N., Nymann, C., & Konradsen, H. (2015). Implementing research results in clinical

practice-the experiences of healthcare professionals. BMC health services

research16(1), 48.

Sullivan, M., Kiovsky, R. D., Mason, D. J., Hill, C. D., & Dukes, C. (2015). Interprofessional

collaboration and education. AJN The American Journal of Nursing115(3), 47-54.

Titler, M. G. (2008). The evidence for evidence-based practice implementationPatient Safety

and Quality: An Evidence-Based Handbook for Nurses.

Ulrich, C. M., Taylor, C., Soeken, K., O’Donnell, P., Farrar, A., Danis, M., & Grady, C. (2010).

Everyday ethics: ethical issues and stress in nursing practice. Journal of advanced

nursing66(11), 2510-2519.

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