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Finding Topics for the Health Dissertation

June 15, 2015 - Posted to Dissertation topics and examples

Content 4

By the times students are in doctoral programs in health care, they have moved into very specialized areas, and health dissertation topics will become students’ concerns as soon as they enter their doctoral programs. Given that they are fully specialized in terms of coursework, locating potential topics for dissertations will come from that coursework. Good sources for administration, public health, education and nursing dissertation topics are easily found by:

  1. Analyzing topics covered in texts, outside reading, classroom lectures
  2. Performing periodic searches through ProQuest, in order to review abstracts and dissertations already produced on potential areas of interest
  3. Discussions with classroom professors to identify topics in which there may be great interest

One of the most important things for any students preparing for their dissertation work is that they choose topics and identify research questions from those topics in which they have a strong interest. Selecting a topic simply because a professor or advisor recommends it is not the way to make a decision. Topic selection must be according to one’s strong desire to conduct research in a specific area and to contribute the results of that research to his/her field of knowledge.

Areas of doctoral study and potential topic areas are categorized as follows:


Hospital Administration

This area of study combines health care and business fields, in order to produce Ph.D.’s with strong skill sets in managing the myriad functions of hospital functions. Students may further specialize in HR, budget and finance, policies, strategic planning and administration, technology, etc. Potential topic areas for dissertations include:

  1. Impact of ICU improved care on mortality rates
  2. Administration of rural hospitals
  3. Using technology to improve drug and medical records or maintain inventories
  4. Using technology for logistics
  5. Manpower assignment and utilization
  6. Strategies to improve wait time in emergency rooms
  7. Time Motion Studies

Many of these topics lend themselves well to case studies, and, in fact, most all research conducted in the field of hospital administration will occur in hospitals, often in more than one, in order to provide comparative studies and analyses.


Public Health

Whether a country already has a public health system or variation of public and private, such as in the United States, studies of the efficacy of health delivery systems and structures always make great dissertation topics. Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Review of laws related to mental health care with recommendations to policy makers
  2. Differentiated health care for various socio-economic groupings – case studies
  3. Single-payer health care systems and efficacy of treatment
  4. Community models for comprehensive health services to specific groups, such as the elderly, high-risk infants and their families, and individuals with cognitive disorders


Health Care Efficacy in Specific Fields

Those individuals with Bachelor’s and Master’s in nursing and nursing-related fields, will want to specialize in a health field that correlates to their earlier degrees and experiences. In such cases, research studies can be conducted in public and private health care facilities related to specific diseases, traumas, etc. Some suggested topics would include:

  1. Health care improvements for patients utilizing emergency room services
  2. Determinants of health care utilization among individuals with diabetes and pre=diabetes
  3. Impacts of “para” health care
  4. Nursing interventions to improve medication compliance among patients in prison
  5. Health costs of delayed treatment
  6. Effects of smoking on young populations
  7. Efficacy of new therapies for mental illness (e.g., CBT)
  8. Advance treatments for Hepatitis C
  9. Improved techniques and technology in surgery


Nursing Education

Quite a number of health professionals seek advanced degrees because they have a mission to teach at the university level, preparing other nursing professionals in their specialty areas. Doctoral degrees in nursing education are highly specialized, according to patient treatment in specific medical fields. Thus dissertations will relate to the following:

  1. Training health care providers in new and advanced treatments of various cancers
  2. Training health care providers in innovative treatment delivery systems for cardio-vascular diseases
  3. New advances in the treatment of COPD and other lung disorders/diseases
  4. In and out-patient care for those who suffer from mental illness
  5. Newest rehabilitation techniques for stroke victims
  6. Advances in surgical transplants
  7. Treating liver and kidney disease
  8. Gerontology – illnesses and disease that afflict the elderly
  9. And more


The health care field is one of just a few that are exploding with opportunity. And as the population continues to increase, and as the sub-population of the elderly continues to live longer, expansion of health care services and facilities will continue. There will always be significant career positions for those with graduate degrees in health care fields.

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