Choosing your Nursing Dissertation Topic : A Quick Guide

Written by Brandon L.
August 17, 20238 min read

If you are at a point where you have the question, "how do I choose a good topic for my nursing dissertation?" you are at the right place and at the right time. Maybe you have tried everything to get ahead of the deadlines and meet milestones. Before writing the dissertation proposal, you need to find a good topic. It might sound like an easy thing to do, but that is never the case. If you think you are safe because your professor has let you choose a topic for your nursing dissertation, think twice.

Writing dissertations is a process dreaded by most students. Most nursing students find it challenging to pick a dissertation topic even when they have ideas and sometimes research questions.

This guide shares tips, steps, and tricks to help you select the best dissertation topics for your nursing course.

Tips and Tricks for Choosing Good Topics for a Nursing Dissertation

Understanding that choosing an appropriate dissertation topic is the first step towards writing an original and digestible nursing dissertation, we have to cover how to select the topic.

Even with research ideas and topic areas, most students struggle to get a topic that has not been over-researched. We believe that by using our tips and tricks, you will masterfully choose a nursing dissertation topic and write a paper that leaves your assessors and professors yearning to read more from you.

Above everything else, when selecting a nursing topic, pick a topic that you are interested in or passionate about; one that is relevant to your current study area and future aspirations; one that you are comfortable researching and exploring further; a topic relevant to your nursing specialty of interest; one that has a lot of current research articles and peer-reviewed sources; and one that aligns with recent research and trends in nursing practice.

Let's look at the essential tips you can consider as you choose a topic for your dissertation.

Review Your Class Readings and Notes

If your professor asks you to develop ideas for your dissertation, the class readings and notes are the first place to start your search. We insist on taking good notes during class; it helps you record ideas that are not in the readings.

In many instances, even when some of our writers are teaching, they throw in some ideas that are excellent topics for a dissertation. If you are keen enough, you can get some ideas.

Besides the notes, class readings are an excellent place to get topic ideas for a nursing dissertation. You will peruse the material and identify the issues that meet the criteria of a good nursing research topic. With equal measure, look at the topics suggested by your professor in-class assignments, which can give you a hint of the best topics to cover.

Apart from class notes, take some time to read the dissertation assessment grid and brief thoroughly. It should give you a deeper understanding of the scope of the topic, and if there are topic areas or ideas you are not allowed to select.

Remember, a nursing dissertation is part of an evidence-based process, and it is an evidence-based paper because you are building a research knowledge reserve in nursing. Your findings can potentially influence clinical decision-making at any level of nursing practice.

Begin with A General Topic Area

 To formulate a good dissertation topic, you must examine a general topic area where your interest lies. F

or instance, you can select nursing shortage issues. You would want to then narrow it down by explicitly looking at how institutional factors (budget cuts, inflation, and lack of faculty) in the US, UK, Canada, or wherever you want to base your study are responsible for nursing staffing shortages.

Assuming this is your choice, you will also need to think about your aim or purpose to refine the topic to something that makes sense and has headway as you research. For instance, with the example above, you could decide that your dissertation aims to examine the institutional factors that affect or cause a nursing shortage in Mississippi.

At the same time, it is also vital to develop research questions that align with the aim or purpose statement. Using the example of the dissertation topic area or idea above, the most appropriate question would be, "what are the institutional factors that influence nurse staffing shortages in Mississippi." Even when selecting the topic ideas or areas you are interested in, you need to do two things: pick something you are interested in and are passionate about and review peer-reviewed journals and topics to get more ideas.

Think of Something You Are Passionate About

Before diving into research to identify the best ideas and topics, it is vital to determine where your interest lies as far as nursing is concerned.

Ask yourself:

In nursing, you can choose research-related topics, case study-based, or ones based on clinical procedures.

Topics related to research entail conducting intensive research on specific research areas in the nursing field in which you have an interest. You can focus on disease management processes, nurse staffing issues, specialist care, nurse education, prescription privileges, carer support, healthcare access, healthcare quality, clinical practice guidelines, and common patient issues.

You can also choose case studies for your dissertation topic, especially if it is an unpublished case or one based on your practice area or practicum. For instance, you could have experienced adverse events due to medical errors or insurance fraud issues at your workplace or practicum station; they can form good case studies for a dissertation topic. 

Finally, you can also explore topics related to clinical procedures. Some potential areas include hand hygiene, wound care, management of cancer patients, patient education, health promotion, etc.

In a nutshell, the dissertation option for nursing students includes:

Whatever area you choose to focus your nursing dissertation on, pick a topic you are passionate about. For instance, if you are interested in the emergency department, pick an emergency care-related problem. For example, you can check emergency department overcrowding.

You will put a lot of work into a topic, so select something you love and can write about and one that can help you in your future specialization within the nursing field. Remember, a perfect dissertation can be a good listing in your nursing student resume.

Research Online

Quick online research will reveal millions of publications, articles, and nursing dissertations students submit to different nursing programs. You can use this to your advantage.

When choosing a topic for your dissertation, it is best to check the current affairs in the nursing field. An excellent place to begin is the news. As yourself, "what is the general feeling or trend in the media?"

Check what the media is reporting about nursing. Are there any challenges? If there are, these are the potential areas you need to consider as topic areas of interest.

Apart from the news, read through the nursing school websites where dissertations are published. Some nursing schools publish student work on their websites or dedicated pages to improve dissemination. Consider the examples below:

You can find theses and dissertation indices from top nursing universities. Borrowing research topic ideas from such publications and developing yours can be the best thing you will ever do.

There are also a handful of blogs, written chiefly by online nursing writing services, where you will get hundreds of dissertation topics that you can customize to suit your research interests and assessment criteria. Be cautious because any writer produces some instead of a nursing writer or expert. They, too, come in handy when selecting a topic.

At NurseMyGrade, we have qualified nursing experts that can assist you in coming up with a dissertation topic, writing the proposal, and writing the dissertation from start to end. You will get 3-4 unique topics and choose one, consult with your professor or instructor, and proceed to the following stages if approved. Each question will accompany a purpose statement, aim, and research or PICOT question.

Find a Manageable Topic

If you are wondering if you can choose or have chosen a good enough topic for your nursing dissertation, it is important to check if it is manageable. Manageability refers to the ability to find scholarly peer-reviewed or scholarly sources for your paper, and it also means a topic that relates to your area of study.

Healthcare or nursing thesis topics should be related to your area of interest or study. If you are studying nursing and intend to be a NICU nurse, you naturally lean toward neonatal care rather than mental health topics. The same applies when you are so determined to become a geriatric nurse you would naturally select geriatrics and elderly care topics. Assess whether you can find adequate resources.

In most cases, we recommend finding scholarly sources published within the last five years unless they are groundbreaking, seminal, or primary research journals.

Your professor is anticipating a unique, original, and relevant topic that should not be diluted or over-researched. Appearing as if you chose a topic from Google Search or generated it using AI will only worsen your woes and delay your dissertation writing process. Consider aspects such as nursing theories or frameworks to arrive at a topic covering everything.

Checking whether the selected dissertation topic is manageable is as simple as skimming through current journals to identify if there is adequate material to help you build your argument.

Narrow Down the Topics

It is vital to find at least three topic areas of interest that you can potentially research and write a dissertation on before proceeding. With three dissertation topic ideas, you are guaranteed to choose one that meets all the criteria.

At this stage, you will have the three ideas and their respective aims and research questions. You can refine your research by reading broadly around the topics before you settle on the best among them. Your criteria should be based on the manageability of the topic, your interest in it, and if it meets the dissertation assessment criteria.

When researching to narrow down the topics, consult with your healthcare librarian and review the article abstracts as you make notes. Consider selecting a topic area you are interested in and narrowing it down to a manageable bit.

If you are handling a topic on the use of telepsychiatry for rural-based populations, consider focusing on a specific geographic location such as a city, town, county, or state. Narrowing down the topics help you to identify where your interest lies and the topic to settle for when writing the dissertation proposal and later the dissertation.

Ask Your Professor

After selecting a topic (s) that meets the definition of a perfect nursing research topic, it is best to consult your nursing professor. As dissertation module supervisors or lead, they are the ones that will be marking your dissertation, plus a few external assessors. If you book an appointment with them and they are free, the professor will help you select a topic among the three you have narrowed down if that is troubling you. Alternatively, they might suggest ways to make the topics interesting and palatable.

Sharing with them the topic you have picked will ensure that they help you to sharpen it further. It also helps you to understand what topics are not allowed in so far as instructions and scope of your training is concerned. If you have any concerns with the dissertation assessment grid or criteria, ask the professor for clarification, as it might affect your choice of a topic.

Besides, you will also get the chance to get positive criticism, review potential related topics, and get insights on how to approach a topic. Engaging a professor helps you to understand and manage their expectations in your dissertation, and it also enables you to select a good enough topic that the professor will anticipate to see how you have tackled it. If the professor gives you the go-ahead, you are sure they anticipate reading the paper.

Now that you know, What's Next?

When selecting a nursing dissertation, you must be objective to avoid making mistakes that can cause pain when writing. Although it sounds like an easy thing to do, most students find it challenging.

Have an outsider's perspective when analyzing the topic; even if you choose based on interest, let it be manageable. It is also imperative to start early enough to have time between selecting the topic and getting down to write your nursing dissertation.

It allows you to research widely, consult, get the help you might need, and balance other domains of your daily life without stressing about the nursing dissertation journey.

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If you need help from our nursing writing experts, fill out the order form and request a 1-2-page paper with 3-4 dissertation topic options, depending on your interest. We have helped many choose unique, manageable, and exciting nursing dissertation topics because our writers know how to do it best. We can help you too, yes you!

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