My experience in weeks seven and eight was both challenging and rewarding. I must admit that I was a little frustrated that my quality improvement (QI) project had a slow start and have encountered a few challenging moments. Fortunately, I am pleased as nurses are finally getting comfortable with the new process using the NPO tool. Nonetheless, I am honestly struggling to find permissible hours. This worries me that I might not have enough clinical hours to achieve the mandated 180 hours by the end of this semester.
I managed to conduct office follow-up and offer support and reinforcement on documentation of NPO tool among nurses in clinic and pre-op via email and physically visiting these two areas and engaging staff. I also had a productive discussion with the Epic team regarding the ultimate function of the newly developed education activity for pre-op nurses. I requested the team to include a comment section to allow nurses to indicate why the document was not used or given. Pre-op nurses can now document under which circumstances or reasons why the NPO tool was not used during the phone calls.
I further reviewed all cancellation and delayed cases from the last two fiscal years from statistics provided by a data analyst. The analyst was helpful as he guided me on how to access the data and assisted me in understanding the trend in the last two years. I also started visiting the prep-op nurses and took the opportunity to listen and observe how they communicated and used the NPO tool during their phone calls with parents or guardians. During these visits, I managed to offer the nurses advice, support, and reinforcements where necessary. During these visits, I realized that the significant weakness of my project is the possibility of the NPO tool being misplaced, forgotten, and parents likely to refuse to use the tool as a reference.
I realize now that the project has reached the most critical stage requiring my increased involvement. At some point, I felt that some challenges experienced these past weeks were overwhelming. However, the struggles and frustrations served as a lesson. I learned that the QI project requires proper planning and team effort to achieve meaningful and successful outcomes.
Application to Professional Practice
I managed to acquire new knowledge, skills, and positive attitudes through this weeks’ experience. I would apply the acquired knowledge, skills, and attitudes in the future to improve my overall professional practice. First, the experience presented me with an opportunity to relook into my attitude when faced with challenges. I will face future challenges and frustrations encountered during professional practice with a positive attitude. Challenges and frustrations are inevitable in professional practice, necessitating me to maintain a positive attitude. This would allow me to move forward towards the set practice goals.
As for the skills, my experience past these weeks came in handy. I managed to improve my interpersonal skills when communicating and interacting with the Epic team and pre-op nurses. For instance, I realized effective communication and active listening are critical skills that I can employ in future practice. I can use these skills in future practice, particularly when championing and leading change initiatives within a healthcare setting. This weeks’ experience also helped me develop planning and organizing skills. I will deploy the gained planning skills in future practice when addressing specific patient care needs.
I also managed to gain new knowledge through experience, which I believe will be valuable in my future professional practice. I gained knowledge that inter-departmental collaboration is vital when leading change initiatives in a health clinic setting. Mainly, I learned that working with information technology (IT) department professionals is essential in QI projects requiring data extraction. I will apply this knowledge when leading an inter-professional team towards improving the quality and safety of the delivered healthcare. Morley and Cashell (2017) emphasized that the engagement of members from various practice areas in a cooperative and coordinated manner is critical in offering safe and quality care.
Application to DNP Essential and Characteristics of a DNP Graduate
My experience aligns with both DNP essentials and the characteristics of a DNP graduate. A DNP graduate is expected to demonstrate inter-professional collaboration skills to strengthen practice and healthcare delivery through the implementation and assessment of practice models that influence healthcare outcomes. I believe that my past weeks’ experience is well-aligned with these characteristics of a DNP graduate. For example, my experience aligned with this characteristic as I collaborated with pre-op nurses, data analysts, and the Epic team to implement my QI project. I was able to collaborate with other staff at different levels to make this project a success. Additionally, my past weeks’ experience aligns with the DNP characteristic of offering mentoring and coaching opportunities for a care provider, patients, and families. Particularly, I visited pre-op nurses where I provided support and reinforcements on the use of the NPO tool.
My experience also aligned with DNP essentials. For example, my interaction with various healthcare professionals and staff demonstrates the DNP essential of inter-professional collaboration. According to AACN (2006), the complexity of today’s healthcare setting relies on the contributions of knowledgeable and skilled persons from varying professions. I demonstrated this DNP essential by working with pre-op nurses, the Epic team, and data analysis towards the realization of my QI project.
AACN. (2006). Essentials of doctoral education for advanced nursing practice. https://www.aacnnursing.org/Portals/42/Publications/DNPEssentials.pdf
Morley, L., & Cashell, A. (2017). Collaboration in health care. Journal of Medical Imaging and Radiation Sciences, 48(2), 207-216. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jmir.2017.02.071