Capstone Project: Healthcare Administration
Capstone project also called culminating project, the capstone experience, senior exhibition, and the likes. It refers to a multifaceted assignment serving as the culminating intellectual and academic experience for students during the final year of the academic course being pursued. It resembles a very great extent a college thesis, but capstone project has a wide variety of forms. The most common feature is the handling of long-term investigative projects culminating in a final presentation, product, or performance. Usually, students are to choose a topic, a social problem or profession of their interests. They conduct researches on subjects selected, maintain a portfolio of the results or findings, and give shape to a final product that demonstrate their acquisition of knowledge and learning. The finality of the research may also be in the form of conclusions like a short film, paper, or multi-media presentation. It may also involve an oral presentation on the project to a select panel of experts, teachers, and community members who evaluate the quality of presentation collectively (“Glossary of Education.”2014).
Capstone projects are usually meant to encourage students to solve challenging problems, think critically and imbibe skills. It may like public speaking, oral communication, media literacy, research skills, planning, teamwork, goal setting, or self-sufficiency. All these are so designed as to prepare students to pursue higher studies, undertake a career and adjustment to adult life. In many cases, projects are designed to be interdisciplinary requiring students to apply mind and skill or investigate issues relating to diverse subject areas or aspects of knowledge. These projects are also designed to encourage students to correlate their projects to community problems or issues. Consequently, they assimilate off-campus experiences such as scientific observations, interviews, or internships (“Glossary of Education.”2014).
Some of the examples of capstone projects may include writing, directing, and filming of the announcement of a public service to be aired on television. In addition, it may be an internship at a legislator's office or a non-profit organization to acquire knowledge about policies and strategies that are adopted to redress social problems like hunger, homelessness, or poverty. It may for pursuing a scientific study to determine environmental or ecological impact of changes over a period of a particular time ranging from a few months to a year in the local habitat. It may also be health administration and making researches in market or industry to create a viable business plan for a company to be set up and so forth (“Glossary of Education.”2014).
Capstone projects are of great significance as these projects reflect students' internalization of the knowledge imparted during their stay in the educational institution and their ability to correlate the knowledge gained with the off-campus experiences. These provide students with opportunities to exhibit their organizational capacities and leadership qualities, prepare them for the bigger roles they are likely to play in the years ahead, and make them own responsibilities. The topic chosen is of interest to the student, and hence, he utilizes his mind well to complete the project that is to be finished within a certain time frame. Capstone projects instill in students a sense of responsibility, maturity of approach, and a framework to showcase their abilities (“Capstone Project & Presentation”).
Healthcare administration project provides an opportunity to a student to showcase the knowledge acquired so far and correlate it to the problem. This provide an opportunity to deploy the skills and the leadership qualities acquired and developed in his course of study to research that culminates in the execution of healthcare administration project.
The capstone project is an opportunity to a student to showcase creatively the growth achieved in the undergraduate courses by undertaking a project of his choice. The completion of this project signifies his readiness to move on towards a higher educational institution or plunge to a career path. The project is not confined to the four walls of the classroom and is related to the career goals and career field. Choosing a topic is of utmost importance as it should reflect student’s knowledge growth and readiness to move to higher niches. It is a three-step project including choosing of a topic, researching and writing a paper. It involves creating a new things based on the research entirely, and presenting the research, project, and reflection (“Capstone Project & Presentation”)
The topic chosen must intrigue or excite a student. It is not necessary that the topic should essentially relate to the student’s future career path, but it must of interest to the student. One may like to write a research paper, so the topic selected should be amenable to research. One may even choose to go for an apprenticeship to prepare oneself for his future endeavors, or such projects may include an emerging trend, a new procedure, an industry based problem or the likes. The topic should provide ample opportunities to demonstrate the student's creativity. Capstone project has various deadlines, and a student is supposed to meet all these deadlines. One’s creativity should be reflected in his choosing of a project (“Capstone Project & Presentation”)
Healthcare administration refers to the field related to leadership, administration, and management of healthcare systems, public health systems, hospitals, and hospital networks. Healthcare administrators are referred as healthcare professionals. In international context, the term signifies the management at every level. In the U.S., management of a single institution like a hospital is also termed as medical and health services management or healthcare administration (Velluratti et al., 2014). Health systems management involved attainment of specific outcomes, running of departments within the hospital smoothly, making employees understand what is expected of them, using resources efficiently, and choosing right people for the right job. The administration is concerned to achieve the common goal of serving people the best.
Hospital administrators may be individuals or group of people acting as the central point of control in the hospital. These may be ex-clinicians or individuals from varied backgrounds. The two types of administrators include specialists and generalists. Generalists manage entire facilities, while specialists have the responsibility of running a particular department such as finance, accounting, budgeting, marketing, and the likes smoothly (Davila). The study of healthcare management is done through healthcare administration or healthcare management courses in some business schools, other institutions or in a public health school. Numerous colleges and universities offer master and bachelor’s degree in human resources and healthcare administration (“Health administration”). Their courses cannot be considered comprehensive or all encompassing, and hence, comes the capstone projects that are undertaken by students before they plunge into real life problems while working in the industry. Healthcare professionals should be equipped with the necessary experiences in an industry where they can come across cases that might confront them in later lives (Davila).
Healthcare administrators impact extensively the world of medicine, and the leadership provided by these professionals set the trend of healthcare system and for future development. The healthcare facility management is enormous like managing a city. The person working as healthcare administrator holds enormous responsibility. Hence, this is imperative that they are well equipped with knowledge, and training including capstone projects. It prepares them for the bigger role that a student is expected to play in the later life (Velluratti et al., 2014). Universities may forge a close collaboration with the relevant industries to impart students both theoretical as well as practical knowledge. They should be encouraged to opt a capstone project which will provide a student the real problem situations. Developing theoretical, practical, analytical, and reflective skills in students should be the key responsibilities of business schools. An administrator has ample opportunities to exhibit leadership traits while managing things in the hospital. If they accomplish internship in a hospital, it will immensely help them during their job. Before graduating, they could be asked to take up a capstone project compulsorily as it would prepare them for the real life situations. The leadership traits could be exhibited while discharging duties as healthcare professionals.
Let us talk about a healthcare capstone project of internship that acquainted a student with a real environment in advance prior to graduation, and exciting him to study still harder. However, it is difficult to monitor the progress of each student during the internship. Secondly, it is difficult for the student to experience all types of design problems in the field of industry. Healthcare administration design is a good program which provides a student with opportunities to experience the processes of hospital design. It also emphasizes implementation of effective healthcare management plan regarding social concerns of the patients as well as staff. However, finding a proper field each year is not easy. Hence, in order to enhance industry-university collaboration, Dongguk University in Korea has developed a novel program. This is called "Internship & Capstone Design Integrated Program (ICIP)" that takes care of both the problems (Shin, Lee, Ahn & Jung, 2013).
The healthcare administration of the modern era expects graduates to be productive without additional training initially, and to meet this expectation, universities have to devise programs that can equip students with the necessary experience of that kind. The lack of industrial-educational cooperation has produced human resources incapable of coping with the demands of industries in the work execution. Hence, universities have to devise courses and training programs that can equip students with necessary experiences to cope with the expectations of the stakeholders. Capstone projects in collaboration with hospital can meet the expectations of public. Universities aim at providing general ability as it is dicey to educate for specific companies. However, hospital has a role in providing students with real healthcare experiences while still in universities (Shin et al., 2013).
Practical Experience during Healthcare Administration
This healthcare administration project provide an opportunity with on job knowledge and skills. During this particular period, students work in cycles in different departments of the hospital. This practice develops fundamental skill regarding different activities in health services under supervision of senior staff of the hospital. This experience equips the students with skill, knowledge and experience that is essential for leadership performance in the field of healthcare administration. In many aspects, this is similar to paid internship but contrary to it, the students learn a specified set of guidelines that need to be followed (“The Health Care Administration”). Capstone project experience in healthcare administration provide uniform experience to all students in order to expose them to skills and knowledge required for administration in a hospital.
Moreover, the students need to be familiar with various areas of healthcare administration. Firstly, they analyze demographic as well as health status data for a particular community followed by comparison with specified benchmark. These results facilitated them to evaluate prevailing and expected demand of services and programs. Secondly students evaluate the factors that may impact an organization in the context of public policy, creativities, regulations, communities, as well as economic eminence of a community. Thirdly, the provided case studies enable the students to review the information regarding performance, behavior and insolence of the employees. This data includes interviews of physicians and management regarding factors like organizational culture, reward system and satisfaction of the employee that enabled students to formulate recommendations to address main issues. Fifth, students are assigned two organizations for the case study to evaluate the composition of the respective board members, their responsibilities, and roles in the organization. This practice enhances their skills regarding governance issues, procedures and policies. Last but not the least, students used models for market research, strategic planning during crises, environmental assessment and so forth for a healthcare organization (Moseley; Velluratti et al..2014).
Moreover, the study conducted focused on the roles of leader, mentor, and task as these are to benefit out of the project based internship programs. Potential implications of the design and development of internship and healthcare project, especially student’s successful performance in internship program were taken into account (Shin et al., 2013).
These references amply revealed that a hospital or work-based experience is by far the best experiential learning opportunities for graduating students. However, it may not be easy for all students to get an internship or cooperative learning experience. Hence, it is essential to impart the classroom based experiential learning activities to prepare graduates to meet the demands of the hospitals or industry. That is why; Dongguk University, Korea, decided to educate first competent persons for compliance with the needs of the industry, and alter the process of recruitment preferring experienced persons. It developed internship program and advocated industrial-educational cooperation that is associated with capstone design curriculum, and at the same time to accommodate industry requirements (Shin et al., 2013).
During the projects, students learn corporate processes, structure, and behavior, and get an opportunity to learn and practice authentically. Students gain their knowledge after performing under real working environment. Internship offers one with the depth, breadth, and scope of real healthcare administration experience. Capstone design involves engineered design which is the process of developing a system, process, or component to meet the intended requirements. Among the fundamental aspects taught in the capstone design class include fixing of criteria and objectives, analysis, synthesis, testing, construction, and evaluation. However, it is not easy to monitor the progress of each student. That is why; the program developed by Dongguk University called Internship & Capstone design Integrated Program or ICIP which takes care both the problems of the capstone project in the industry. Capstone project deals with the process of deducing a system, process, or component to meet the requirements. The establishment of objectives, criteria, analysis, construction, synthesis, evaluation, and testing are the fundamental elements taught in the class of the capstone design. A group comprising four or five students work under the supervising eyes of a teacher and mentor on a project provided by a business for the year. (Shin et al., 2013; Velluratti et al., 2014).
Capstone Project & Management Course
Let us now examine capstone projects in management education in which numerous programs are offered to provide practical business relevance. It provides students the necessary threshold for transition to the real business world. The course of capstone strategy is in vogue in several management education programs for providing practical business relevance as means for students to transit to the world of real issues. An empirical study was conducted to ascertain up to what extent capstone strategy courses teach students the following four skills namely theoretical, applied, practical, and reflective. It was discovered that professors motivate students to learn applied skill the most and reflective skill the least. However, there had been the difference of opinion as to what extent capstone strategy can develop these four skills in capstone strategy classrooms. The findings suggest that there are varieties of course configurations made to learn in business schools. It was also found that students were being educated with these skills differentially irrespective of their having background of business undergraduate or business work experience. Nevertheless, all students learnt reflective skills the least. It has been observed that equipping students with these four skills will facilitate taking of managerial decisions based on thoughtful iterative analyses. It needs taking into account multiple perspectives, ambiguities and systemic implications long term (Inamdar & Roldan, 2013).
Effectiveness of Capstone Project
In the perspective of 2008 global crisis, questions were raised whether selection of wrong types of executives who were taught misleading kind of things contributed to the economic crises. Harvard Business Review (HBR) conducted a poll involving professors of business schools, MBAs, business leaders, and HBR readers as to how far business schools are responsible for the economic slowdown of 2008. The responses included about 33% who said not at all. 20% favored to some extent, but MBA programs were not up to the mark. 47% declared business schools responsible as their teachings were not proper and focused to the need of the hour. A majority of management researchers held the MBA curriculum less than relevant to the needs of management. John Fernandes, the President and C.E.O. of Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) pointed that only 25% of the 5% accredited business schools have been modifying their curricula. They should adapt the changing needs of businesses in the context of constantly increasing global and social consciousness about environment (Inamdar & Roldan, 2013). The basic reason is business schools that are taking more rigorous approaches to teaching in order to match the standards of academic excellence. They used to focus sciences to the detriment of the practicality and relevance of programs conducted by them. As per Schoemaker (2008), business schools failed to prepare students to tackle the complications and ambiguity of high rates of changes taking place in several industries presently as business educators prefer academic rigor to practical relevance. Wallace (2010) opined that students have not been learning to think creatively and critically, or to think in terms of multiple frameworks, disciplines, perspectives, and cultures.
Many MBA programs have been changed to adopt capstone business policy and strategy to address the concerns expressed in the foregoing paragraphs. The capstone course is originating at the Harvard Business School (HBS) as the course policy was initially placed in the second year of the MBA program. This was referred as "capstone" experience, and the role of the capstone course is to impart business relevance as tools for students to transit to the business world. It is intended to integrate the different functional courses and a capstone course in the curriculum of the business by the use of case studies to corroborate the practice of management (Inamdar & Roldan, 2013).
The capstone strategy course in the MBA has faced similar criticism as MBA programs. The criticism again relates to the mismatch between the requirement of the business job and content of the course. There have been too much of the emphasis on theory and analysis with disregard to integration and learning by doing having practical implications. Thus, the questions raised include how far universities are teaching theoretical, practical, reflective, and applied skills in the capstone course? What is the position with respect to MBA courses and the difference in learning among various MBA programs? The results of the survey of capstone strategy involving class professors at the AACSB assessment suggest applied skills to getting the strongest of coverage in classes while reflective skills are less-taught; though the opinions differed. However, it is significant to note that the capstone curriculum has now been standardized. The problem now is of emphasis on different skills by professors. The findings suggest that the content standardized still leave enough space and flexibility for professors to emphasize the development of the various kinds of skills (Inamdar & Roldan, 2013).
Capstone project, the culminating project of an academic course, provides an opportunity to a student to showcase his abilities and knowledge acquired in the execution of a topic of his interest. The topic being selected by the student himself provides him the free hand in dealing with the subject. The topic may relate to a social cause or a profession of his interest. He is required to make researches and arrive at a conclusion. The performance is evaluated by a selected panel of professors and experts who look for the student's ability to speak publically, media literacy, research techniques, goal setting, and certain skills. They are namely theoretical, reflective, practical, and applied.
Capstone project offers a student to acquaint himself with real problems like healthcare administration. It prepares him for the bigger role that he is likely to play in the future. There is a debate doing the rounds whether business schools are changing and modifying their curricula as per the need of the hour or whether the knowledge imparted is suitable and adequate for the industry. People hold universities responsible to a very great extent for the economic slowdown of 2008 as these could not produce well-equipped professionals who faltered culminating in the economic slump. The question is whether the workforce being produced is adequately equipped to run the industry they work with after the completion of their economic pursuit. Hence, there is the need for the capstone project which prepares students for the challenges ahead. There is a significant need for close cooperation between universities and industries including hospitals to bring out professionals who are well equipped to take the challenges of the modern times.
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