All undergraduate nursing students are required to complete a capstone project. This project is a research or quality improvement project that aligns with evidence practice nursing guidelines and needs within clinical practice or within a community.

In addition to the required capstone, Carthage nursing students may choose to participate in research activities with the guidance of faculty.

Student statements

Sara Bergstrom “I was truly honored and excited to be chosen as a nursing SURE participant for the summer of 2019 with Professor Cheryl Petersen. As a student in several of Prof. Petersen’s courses, I was intrigued by her past research regarding the positive outcomes of spiritual care in the nursing field. I expressed my interest in this topic to her, and she explained her plans to develop and research the effects of an interdisciplinary spiritual care course the following semester. This course provided students with opportunities to enhance their ability to communicate empathetically with individuals facing the end of life. As a research assistant to Prof. Petersen, I performed statistical analysis of the data, which determined that the course significantly impacted students’ attitudes toward and knowledge of spirituality/spiritual care, spiritual care competence, and level of response empathy through role-play. We composed the manuscript ‘Care of the Spirit: Effects of an Interdisciplinary Undergraduate End-of-Life Course on Knowledge, Competence, and Response Empathy,’ which was published in the Journal of Hospice and Palliative Nursing.

“The SURE Program was a life-changing experience, as I was able to apply my knowledge of statistics to research under the supervision of an extraordinary mentor. This opportunity has provided me with the tools needed to succeed as both a registered nurse and in my current studies in the Doctor of Nursing Practice, Family Nurse Practitioner Program at Johns Hopkins University. I am sincerely grateful to Prof. Petersen and Carthage College’s SURE Program!”

— Sarah Bergstrom


Dan Dalton “I was a member of the SURE project in the summer of 2020, where I completed research on the topic ‘Calling and Vocation.’ My responsibilities included entering data into the SPSS system and assisting with writing the manuscript. My experience with SURE helped to develop my interest and passion for research. This ultimately led me to join Duke University Hospital’s Research Board upon my employment. As a board member, I assist in the research process for identifying techniques and interventions that progress the nursing practice.”

— Dan Dalton