How to Develop a DNP Project Using an Evidence-Based Approach

The DNP (Doctor of Nursing Practice) project functions as the apex of your doctoral studies by providing the opportunity to apply the knowledge and skills you have accumulated. It is a critical component of your integrative practice experience and forms the climax of the practice-centered DNP.

Developing your DNP project will allow you to set the foundation for future scholarship while offering the chance to make a meaningful contribution to the nursing practice. You can start planning your DNP project at the beginning of your doctoral program and work on it throughout your study.

At first, it may seem like a complicated process, but with practice, tackling your DNP capstone project can be manageable. By learning the steps involved, you will be on your way to becoming a DNP graduate.

We provide a detailed guide to help you have an easier time in your DNP project.

Let’s get started. Shall we?

What is a DNP Project

A DNP project is a comprehensive scholarly activity that aims to translate evidence into practice. Some refer to it as a research or final DNP project.

It mirrors your understanding of your area of specialization and grants you to go into the nuts and bolts of clinical practice.

Evidence-Based Process of Project Development

Besides your ability to put research into practice, your DNP project also demonstrates your critical thinking skills. By identifying the problem, developing a proposal, implementing, and evaluating, you can establish your project using an evidence-based process.

Evidence-based practice is the thorough use of the best and most current evidence to decide patient care.

This approach offers solutions to problems in clinical practice and administration. It integrates a systematic search and critical assessment of relevant proof to answer a clinical question. Also, it incorporates patient preferences and clinical expertise.

In a nutshell, this method will enable you to assess research guidelines and informational resources and apply the results to clinical practice.

You can measure the quality of evidence using a hierarchy that ranks the studies according to research methods’ rigor. The higher a particular research ranks, the more likely it is to be accurate.

In most cases, current, well-designed reviews and meta-analyses will be at the top of the pyramid.

DNP Project

5 Steps of Project Development Using an Evidence-Based Process

Step 1: Formulate a Relevant and Answerable Clinical Question

The first step is to form a question that will guide your literature search. Start by describing an innovation or clinical issue that can function as a problem to solve. To help you establish a searchable concept, consider the following

  • The patient, population, or problem – consider the unique characteristics of the patient or subject.
  • The intervention, prognosis, or exposure in consideration. What do you hope to do for the patient?
  • What comparison of alternatives do you have for the intervention?
  • Outcome – what can you accomplish, measure, or improve? What are you trying to do for the patient?

If you don’t frame the question correctly, you will experience challenges in implementing evidence-based practice by translating evidence.

Step 2: Review of Literature Sources to Find the Best Evidence-Based Resources

An assessment of past works will enable you to use the best evidence from the literature to answer the question you formed.

Step 3: Evaluate the Validity and Relevance of Your Sources

Using reliable methods and tools, collect data to use as evidence.

Step 4: Translate the Evidence

Identify the results you will measure after implementation.

Step 5: Analyze Results and Implement Outcomes

Review the application and effectiveness of the process. You may also pinpoint areas that need improvement.

Essential Questions to Ask

To ensure you meet the objectives of your DNP project, you will have to ask specific questions. In so doing, you will know whether your project meets the expected standards.

  • Who is the focus of your project? Is it individuals, communities, systems, or populations?
  • What problems will your project address?
  • Is the basis of your project in clinical practice? Will it provide a solution to the problem?
  • Does your project showcase a good grasp of DNP competencies acquired through your doctoral education?
  • Have you substantiated your project with evidence from existing literature?
  • Does your project answer any concerns about the outcomes relating to patients and healthcare?
  • Does your project provide a basis for future nursing scholarships?

DNP Capstone Project Guidelines

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing has various guidelines that a DNP project should integrate. You should be able to put some or all of them into practice.

  • Direct your attention towards changes that directly or indirectly impact healthcare outcomes.
  • Have a system, population, or aggregate on which you can focus.
  • Implement a suitable clinical practice
  • Incorporate a sustainability plan such as financial or political realities.
  • Include an assessment of the processes and outcomes.

Purpose of DNP Projects

DNP Project

A DNP project’s primary goal is to demonstrate the methods you will use to educate others in your selected population and deliver care. Using your DNP project, you should showcase your ability to lead and operate at the top levels of clinical nursing. As such, you will have to infuse several skills into your final project, such as:

  1. Expert reflective practice
  2. Good grasp of your area of interest
  3. Ability to conduct independent practice investigations
  4. Evaluation translation and research application capabilities aimed at increasing healthcare outcomes
  5. System leadership and organizational skills for coming up with interventions that improve the outcomes for various populations
  6. Knowledge of professional healthcare policy, law, and ethics for the development of population-based programs according to reliable evidence

How to Translate Evidence into Clinical Practice

As a DNP student, you will need to systematically review research to make a change in clinical practice based on valid evidence. As such, consider the following approach

1. Evaluate the Need for Change in the Practice

Assess whether there is enough evidence to warrant initiation of the change in the nursing practice. You could accomplish this by comparing internal and external data on the current protocols.

2. Link the Problem with Nursing Interventions and Healthcare Outcomes

Once you determine that the proof indicates a need for change, you will need to identify possible interventions that can cause the change and the outcome the change will cause.

3. Assimilate the Best Evidence

After identifying the problem, you should state it as a focused clinical question that you can answer using a literature review. You will also want to place the benefits and risks the patient will face after the clinical changes are implemented.

4. Design the Practice Change

Involve others to identify methods that you can use to implement the changes to the practice.

5. Implement the Change

Implement the strategies you identified in the previous step while carefully evaluating them to ensure that the evidence supports them.

6. Integrating and Maintaining the Change

Once the change in practice is integrated, maintain it by setting up criteria that allow for constant reassessment of the interventions you used to implement it.

Final Thoughts on Your DNP Project

Your DNP capstone project is a vital part of your doctorate education and also forms the epitome of your higher learning experience. It offers you the chance to showcase your expertise and proficiency in matters concerning clinical nursing. As such, it is essential to know how to develop your DNP project.

Besides that, it also grants you the opportunity to make a valid contribution to clinical practice while setting the groundwork for future scholarships. By learning how to develop your project using an evidence-based approach, you will improve your critical thinking and analytic skills. So, you will be better positioned to apply the knowledge you have gained throughout your schooling experience.