Author ORCID Identifier

Date of Award

Spring 5-5-2022

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)



First Advisor

Dr. Regena Spratling

Second Advisor

Dr. Margaret Gettis

Third Advisor

Dr. Christina Calamaro



Purpose: This project aims to identify the gaps in DNP education and project development, implementation, and dissemination. The DNP Project will also recommend new and innovative approaches that produce graduates with the capacity to provide quality care, offer creative solutions, provide practical and translational leadership, and shift the view of healthcare to create positive outcomes.

Background: The goal of the DNP project is to translate evidence into practice to improve healthcare outcomes through direct or indirect care for systems and populations (Murphy, 2018). To effectively assist students in executing a scholarly change project, in the face of the many obstacles within DNP programs, the DNP project process must adopt innovative technologies and seamless education and practice pathways to improve the structure, the process, and outcomes (VanderKooi, 2018). The use of the Lean Six Sigma Framework can be integrated as a quality improvement process to identify the gaps in the DNP project process. It aims to create flow, eliminate waste, improve process capability, and remove variation (Hill, J., e al., 2018).

Methods: This was a quality improvement study design. Subjects were recruited via convenience sampling and included DNP (current and alumni) students enrolled in accredited DNP programs. Social media platforms and email communication were used as the setting.

Participants were recruited from anywhere in the United States (US), implementing their projects at different facilities. The data collection instrument used to gather and disseminate findings was a 48-question mixed-method survey that combined demographic, multiple-choice, Likert scale, and open-ended questions. There was also a voluntary focus session that consisted of nine open-ended questions.

Results: Results concluded that stress derived from the overwhelming nature of the DNP capstone, differing expectations within the program, ineffective communication, and working in isolation were the most significant factors contributing to students' dissatisfaction.

Significance: We need to get a deeper understanding of the DNP project process from all key stakeholders (student, faculty, clinical site/preceptor) to ensure a rigorous curriculum, producing sustainable projects aligned with the student's vision. DNP-prepared nurses will be the new leaders for healthcare, and our goal should be to create leaders that will improve the state of our healthcare and improve patient and provider outcomes.


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