1. Smart, Antiqua N. DNP, APRN, FNP-BC, PHNA-BC

Article Content

Our journal publishes a number of clinical quality improvement (QI) reports. Often, these are based on projects conducted during the course of a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program. The journal is interested in publishing QI projects that are significant in their scope and quality and contain impactful and novel approaches to care. This editorial focuses on the views of a faculty member who works with DNP students. Dr. Antiqua Smart is completing the 2022 editorial mentorship program at JAANP. She teaches in a DNP program and has guided and observed student projects. She offered to discuss her perspectives on the contributions of DNP projects to the growing body of NP science. Next month, we will feature the view of another DNP faculty member.


As a faculty member working with doctor of nursing practice students, what do you identify as strengths in the way doctor of nursing practice projects are currently selected and managed?

As a faculty member working with BSN-DNP and Post-Master's DNP students, there are several strengths than can be identified as they relates to the current selection and management of DNP projects. The first strength is that the DNP project topic selection process starts relatively early during students' matriculation. In core DNP courses, faculty encourage students to start thinking about their topics of interest and allow them to complete class assignments incorporating these topics. The second strength is the ability of DNP projects to produce quality improvement changes in health care organizations before their program completion. This in turn strengthens academic-practice partnerships as health care organizations are open to accepting more DNP students when they see the DNP project process can be mutually beneficial.


What weaknesses have you seen in selecting project topics and project plans?

Some weaknesses I have seen as a faculty member are that NP students select DNP project topics that purely have an executive leadership focus. These types of projects do not adequately reflect the positive clinical practice changes and contributions exclusively made by NPs. DNP project plan weaknesses are usually centered around students not having a contingency implementation plan. When students have a primary and secondary DNP practicum mentor/preceptor at the health care organization in which they are implementing their DNP project, the secondary mentor/preceptor allows them to continue conducting their project with minimal interruption if the primary preceptor becomes ill, must take an unexpected leave of absence, or resigns from the health care organization altogether.


Are there priority areas you would identify for project topics or scope, and if so, why should these be priorities?

Two priority areas are social determinants of health and telehealth. In my opinion, these are priority areas because they both can either positively or negatively affect access to care for patients and ultimately affect patient health outcomes. More quality improvement projects that identify how chronic diseases can be better managed by identifying social determinants of health patient deficits or how increased use of telehealth for supplemental visits to augment routine care for chronic disease management can decrease overall health care costs and demonstrate the need for reimbursement by health care insurers.


How can we as faculty and experienced NPs make the projects meaningful to students as well as impactful for other NPs and clinicians?

Faculty and experienced NPs can make DNP projects more meaningful to students and more impactful for other NPs and clinicians by emphasizing the important contributions DNP projects make toward clinical scholarship. Clinical scholarship is integral to the purpose of the DNP role. The competencies achieved through completion of DNP projects show that NPs are prepared for leadership in practice and clinical education. Clinical scholarship is a necessary skill for NPs working to solve practice and policy issues in complex health care systems as we make the transition from a COVID-19 pandemic to endemic state. DNP projects are also meaningful because they allow for more collaboration with PhD-prepared NPs and strengthen professional relationships among other members of the interdisciplinary health care team.