The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) curriculum includes a practice inquiry project. The practice inquiry project is a faculty-guided scholarly experience that provides evidence of critical thinking, mastery of DNP program objectives and the ability to apply the principles of evidence based practice through problem identification, project development, implementation, and evaluation of a clinical problem.
At the completion of the DNP program, graduates will be able to:
- Evaluate systems responses to health and illness as a basis for the promotion, restoration and maintenance of health and functional abilities and the prevention of illness.
- Integrate advanced knowledge of nursing theories, related sciences and humanities, and methods of inquiry in the care of diverse populations.
- Design quality, cost effective nursing interventions based on the knowledge of interrelationships among person, environment, health and nursing.
- Measure outcomes to evaluate nursing and health systems in diverse settings.
- Demonstrate role competence as a Doctor of Nursing Practice in providing care to individuals and families including rural and vulnerable populations.
- Translate research to support evidenced-based practice for diverse populations.
- Initiate changes in the healthcare system through the implementation and evaluation of health policies that strengthen the healthcare delivery system.
- Apply systems concepts to prevent and solve complex healthcare delivery problems.
Students are expected to incorporate the AACN DNP Essentials as outlined in the following document: https://www.aacnnursing.org/Portals/42/Publications/DNPEssentials.pdf
Each student will have a committee that guides his/her project. The committee will consist of a committee chairperson and two committee members. All members of the committee must have Graduate Appointment Status. One committee member may be external to the College of Nursing (CON), but must be an expert in an area of inquiry relevant to the project and hold a doctoral degree. Students will need to plan on a minimum of two semesters to complete the inquiry project.
DNP practice inquiry projects should (a) focus on a clinically-significant practice issue from a system, population, group or policy perspective and (b) be data driven. Specific topics should be related to the primary focus of the program (e.g. Knowledge Translation) and may center on quality improvement, practice innovation, policy development, evidence synthesis, implementation of evidence, transfer of processes across entities, etc. If evidence synthesis is the focus of the project, the project must include a knowledge translation product to facilitate implementation of findings. Topics should be selected in conjunction with your residency facilitator and DNP Committee Chair. Note that consistent with the AACN DNP Implementation Task Force recommendations documented in the August 2015 white paper, portfolios or projects focused on the educational process, the academic curriculum, or educating nursing students do not meet requirements for the clinical doctorate degree.
To get started with your project, think about your area of interest and work with your assigned faculty committee chair early in your program. Your chair can assist you in directing your coursework activities and identifying the rest of your committee. Refer to the DNP project checklists and proposal template for further guidance.
Students conducting projects in their own workplaces must meet the following criteria: (1) project topic must not fall within the job responsibilities of the student, (2) project scope must expand beyond the unit/department on which the student works (i.e., must have a systems focus), and (3) project work must be completed outside of working hours.
DNP Practice Inquiry Project Report Format
The DNP practice inquiry project report must be (a) of publishable quality as determined by the DNP Committee, (b) well grounded in best available evidence, and (c) include an executive summary, manuscript, and powerpoint presentation.
- Executive Summary (See Executive Summary Template formats).
- DNP Manuscript – content and length will vary depending upon journal requirements. The DNP manuscript describes an evidence based scholarly project that must be written at the level of publishable quality. Although not a graduation requirement, we strongly encourage students to submit their manuscripts to peer-reviewed journals. Prior to submitting the manuscript, the student must receive written approval from the chair of the committee, using the DNP Manuscript Submission form and the DNP Authorship Guidelines form.
- Powerpoint presentation – When creating the powerpoint presentation your project, you will need to plan for a 30-minute presentation. In addition to a report of your project, you must also include implications for practice, systems, policy, and economics.
DNP Practice Inquiry Project Presentation Day
- At the beginning of each semester, the DNP Subcommittee will select potential dates for required student presentations of the DNP practice inquiry project. The Chair will communicate with their student(s) to select a time on one of the potential dates when the student and all committee members can attend.
- We recommend that students who reside within PNW’s geographic area present their project in person. Web-based conferencing is available for students who live outside the geographic area. Family and friends are also welcome to attend.
- We encourage all DNP students to attend the presentation either in person or through web-based conferencing.
- Students who are presenting should be professionally dressed and prepared to deliver a scholarly presentation of their project.
- Each student will be scheduled for a 60-minute time slot. During this time, they will provide a 30-minute powerpoint presentation of their project and answer questions from their (a) committee, (b) other faculty observers, and (c) other audience members (in this order) for 15 minutes. In the remaining 15 minutes, the committee will meet to discuss the student’s performance and inform the student of the results of the discussion.
Tips for Writing the Practice Inquiry Project Paper
The following strategies can help you in writing a manuscript of your project:
- Meet frequently with your committee chair and follow the advice you are given.
- Set deadlines and meet them.
- Keep your writing succinct, direct, and free of jargon.
- Review what you have written, incorporating recommendations from your chair or committee. As you edit your work, it is helpful to read your work out loud.
- To prevent being overwhelmed by the writing process, we recommend that you divide your written project into smaller parts and focus on only one part at a time. .
- Some students find the discussion a challenging portion of the project. A helpful strategy is to consider what you found, why it is important, what it means in terms of existing evidence, and what the implications are for practice. Also address the limitations of your work.
- The written manuscript of your DNP practice inquiry project must be of publishable quality. We strongly encourage you to work with your chair to identify an appropriate journal early in the process and follow the journal’s author guidelines as you prepare your manuscript.
University Resources Relevant to DNP Practice Inquiry Projects
- Human Subjects: Purdue Human Research Protection Program (www.irb.purdue.edu)
- Writing: Purdue Online Writing Lab (owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/) and the PNW writing lab
- Statistical Consulting: Discuss with your Chair
- Information Acquisition: You should refer to the PNW Library’s online libguides (http://guides.pnw.edu/?b=s). We also highly recommend that you work with the PNW Nursing Librarian as you refine your PICO question and formulate your search strategy.