The University of Cincinnati College of Nursing requires Doctor of Nursing Practice students to complete a DNP project to demonstrate a mastery of advanced nursing concepts and the ability to translate knowledge and research into practice.
DNP Project Overview
Students work with faculty advisors to choose a DNP project topic that relates to their advanced-practice specialty and impacts health care outcomes at a systems or population level. The nature of projects varies and could include:
- A quality improvement initiative
- Implementation and evaluation of evidence-based practice guidelines
- Policy analysis
- Design and evaluation of new models of care or health care programs
- Design and utilization of a database to inform decision-making
Throughout the program, students plan, implement and evaluate their DNP project with the guidance of their project chairperson, team and faculty. As a final step, students defend their work in a public forum and write and submit a manuscript for publication in a peer-reviewed journal.
DNP Project Team
After students identify their DNP project topic, they work with their advisor to form a DNP project team that includes a chairperson and at least one other UC faculty member with a doctorate degree in his or her field. Team chairs help students identify potential other members for the DNP project team within UC College of Nursing.
DNP project team responsibilities include:
- Guiding students during project development
- Critiquing students’ project proposal prior to the formal presentation
- Mentoring students during the project implementation and evaluation phases
- Evaluating students’ performance on the formal proposal and defense presentations
DNP Practicum Courses and Workshop
As part of the curriculum, students complete three DNP practicum courses totaling 500 hours. These courses are project-focused (not didactic) and provide mentored opportunities for students to identify, develop, implement, evaluate and disseminate their DNP project.
Each practicum requires at least two DNP project team meetings and project timeline development and assessment. Practicum I assignments include identifying a DNP project topic and creating and defending a proposal. Practicum II encompases the implementation and dissemination phase and practicum III focuses on and concludes with a successful project defense.
UC College of Nursing also offers an optional, half-day summer workshop that focuses on understanding, preparing, writing and presenting the DNP project.
DNP Project Defense and Manuscript
As a final part of the DNP project, students defend their work in front of their project chairperson, team and faculty members during an open presentation and discussion. The project team and faculty evaluate the presentation, provide feedback and decide whether a student successfully completed and defended their work.
Lastly, students detail their DNP project findings in a manuscript for a peer-reviewed journal that fits the topic of their project. Journal selection and manuscript writing are covered throughout DNP coursework, and a timeline for completion of the manuscript is established by a student's DNP project chairperson.