My experience in the last three weeks was a bit of a roller coaster. Initially, I did not know that my project would require approval from Dr. Walden before I could begin. However, after several days of email exchanges between Dr. Ward, Dr. Jefferson, and Ms. Sandra, and me, I received approval from Dr. Ward. I would have saved a lot of time if I knew about the approval process and probably began the project earlier. Despite the bad start, I found some motivation to go to the next step of the project.
The first task was educating the staff, so I did one-on-one teaching with the pre-op nurses and allowed a Q&A session towards the end. The nurses had the opportunity to seek clarification about anything that was not clearly articulated. I was satisfied with my performance at this point, unaware of the challenges ahead. The first challenge was accessing interpreter services on time. One of the service providers, Ms. Blanca, informed me that it would take about three weeks for the fasting instruction to be translated because they are very busy with other requests. Again, I mastered the strength to move past this setback and focus on completing the project.
Contrary to my expectations, another issue came up. I had emailed Ms. Childers, a MyChart analyst, to determine if my fasting instruction could be attached to the patient’s respective chart when the nurses had given the instructions times. Unfortunately, I learned that she is currently on family and medical leave. I had no other option but to email Ms. Charity’s colleague, who is yet to reply.
I realize now that I am not as prepared as I imagined. The scenes I played in my head multiple times on how I would execute this project are not the scenes that played out over the last three weeks. I was a bit disappointed that the negative experiences seem to exceed the positive ones. However, I am grateful that the experiences offered learning opportunities for other parts of the project and my professional life. For instance, I realize that adequate preparation is essential for project success. This includes knowing what to expect and identifying alternative actions if some things do not go as planned. Proper preparation would have helped me learn about the approval process to avoid the last-minute rush, giving me adequate time to deal with other issues. I hope to do better next time.
Application to Professional Practice
The knowledge, skills, and attitudes acquired from my experiences in the first three weeks will benefit my professional practice. For instance, I now recognize the importance of being optimistic and maintaining a positive attitude. Challenges are inevitable, especially in professional practice, so I must always be hopeful for better experiences. Otherwise, it is easy to give up and fail to achieve my professional goals. Effective planning is another skill that I will adopt in my professional practice. I have learned that this skill is essential for almost every aspect of life, whether preparing for a project, reporting to work on time, or meeting nursing obligations within the set schedule. Proper planning minimizes errors, saves time, and improves the quality of service.
The other valuable lesson from my experience is the importance of effective communication. From the beginning of the project, I held conversations with different people to deliver on the project requirements. I intend to improve my communication skills and apply them in my professional practice. As Paans et al. (2017) note, being an effective communicator is one of the qualities of an excellent nurse. Besides, I hope to exercise patience and persistence in my professional practice, as learned in the first three weeks of my project.
The Experience in relation to DNP Essentials and Characteristics of the DNP Graduate
A Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) is expected to have certain characteristics, including the ability to apply evidence-based research, promote data-driven decision-making, provide mentorship and coaching opportunities, and lead. My experience is well-aligned with these characteristics. For instance, the project in itself helps obtain evidence that can be used to improve healthcare delivery. A DNP graduate should be able to analyze and utilize this information. Completing the project also demonstrates other characteristics of a DNP graduate such as the ability to effectively apply science-based theories and utilize information systems analytics to improve the quality of healthcare. For my project, data is collected from different patients to draw appropriate conclusions about the study subject. Besides, my experience is consistent with the DNP characteristic of providing mentorship and coaching opportunities for care providers, families, and patients. I began my project with a face-to-face training of nursing personnel to help them succeed in their role.
Further, my experience aligns to different DNP essentials, the first being quality improvement and systems thinking. My project focuses on developing new care models to meet the current needs of the healthcare sector. My commitment to complete the project amidst challenges also aligns with the third DNP essential pertaining clinical scholarship (AACN, 2006). The research is not limited to the mere discovery of information; rather, it can be translated and disseminated for application in healthcare delivery. In other words, finding new knowledge is meant to bring solutions to the existing healthcare challenges. Besides, my interactions with different healthcare professionals demonstrate the DNP essential of interprofessional collaboration. Today’s complex healthcare system can only succeed if knowledgeable professionals with diverse skill sets collaborate for effective and efficient service.
AACN. (2006). Essentials of doctoral education for advanced nursing practice. https://www.aacnnursing.org/Portals/42/Publications/DNPEssentials.pdf
Paans, W., Robbe, P., Wijkamp, I., & Wolfensberger, M. (2017). What establishes an excellent nurse? A focus group and Delphi panel approach. BMC Nursing, 16, 45-55. https://bmcnurs.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12912-017-0239-x