Linking Process Improvement with DNP Projects: Strategies to Advance Clinical Leadership Initiatives

      Nurse leaders are positioned to play a pivotal role in creating opportunities for Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) projects. A formal process was established at one university school of nursing to match more than 50 DNP students with projects identified by several organizational nurse leaders. The initiative has benefited organizations through the improvement of expanded or extended practice improvement projects and DNP students who have the opportunity to collaborate with leadership and interprofessional teams. This article highlights key strategies for nurse leaders to identify DNP project opportunities to advance clinical practice improvement and leadership initiatives.
      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      Purchase one-time access:

      Academic & Personal: 24 hour online accessCorporate R&D Professionals: 24 hour online access
      One-time access price info
      • For academic or personal research use, select 'Academic and Personal'
      • For corporate R&D use, select 'Corporate R&D Professionals'


      Subscribe to Nurse Leader
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect


        • Brown M.A.
        • Crabtree K.
        The development of practice scholarship in DNP programs: a paradigm shift.
        J Prof Nurs. 2013; 29: 330-337
        • Beal J.A.
        • Zimmermann D.
        Academic-practice partnerships.
        J Nurs Admin. 2019; 49: 577-579
        • Hinch B.K.
        • Livesay
        • Stifter J.
        • Brown F.
        Academic-practice partnerships: Building a sustainable model for doctor of nursing practice (DNP) projects.
        J Prof Nurs. 2020; 36: 569-578
        • Melander S.
        • Howard P.B.
        • Williams T.E.
        • Tharp-Barrie K.
        • El-Mallakh P.
        • MacCallum T.
        Optimizing impact through the tiered doctor of nursing practice project model.
        J Am Assoc Nurse Pract. 2020; 32: 263-268
        • Kesten K.
        • El-Banna M.M.
        Strategies to reenvision doctor of nursing practice projects to meet organization goals during a pandemic.
        J Contin Educ Nurs. 2021; 52: 61-63
        • Miller L.H.
        • Mixer S.J.
        • Lindley L.C.
        • Fornehed M.L.
        • Niederhauser V.
        • Barnes L.
        Using partnerships to advance nursing practice and education: the precious prints project.
        J Prof Nurs. 2015; 31: 50-56
        • Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
        Practice improvement.
        (Available at:)
        • Hill J.E.
        • Stephani A.M.
        • Sapple P.
        • Clegg A.J.
        The effectiveness of continuous quality improvement for developing professional practice and improving health care outcomes: a systematic review.
        Implement Sci. 2020; 15: 1-14
        • American Association of Colleges of Nursing
        The essentials of doctoral education for advanced practice nursing.
        (Available at:)
        • Harris P.A.
        • Taylor R.
        • Thielke R.
        • Jonathon Payne
        • Gonzalez N.
        • Conde J.G.
        • et al.
        Research electronic data capture (REDCap): a metadata-driven methodology and workflow process for providing translational research informatics support.
        J Biomed Inform. 2009; 42: 377-381
        • Huber D.L.
        • Joseph M.L.
        • Farag A.
        • Watson C.A.
        Nurse leader DNP capstone projects evaluation: an action framework.
        J Dr Nurs Pract. 2018; 11: 100-106


      Ty Williams, DNP, ACNP-BC, FNP-BC, CNE, is Assistant Professor at Vanderbilt University School of Nursing, Nashville, Tennessee. Karen Hande, PhD(c), DNP, ANP-BC, CNE, FAANP, ANEF is Assistant Director DNP Program and Associate Professor at Vanderbilt University School of Nursing, Nashville, Tennessee. Ruth Kleinpell, PhD, RN, FAAN, FAANP, is Associate Dean for Clinical Scholarship at Vanderbilt University School of Nursing, Nashville, Tennessee. She can be reached at [email protected]