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Capstone Project Reflection

Introduction

The quality improvement project dedicated to catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTIs) prevention is almost complete. The data collection procedures have been performed, and the resulting data have been analyzed. With the data dissemination in progress, it makes sense to reflect on the project and its contribution to the development of my nursing and other competencies. I will use the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) essentials of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing [AACN] (2006) as the primary guide in this reflection. Furthermore, the framework of the “pillars of nursing education,” which include “caring, communication, critical thinking, professionalism, and holism,” will be applied as well (South University, 2012, p. 7). I will demonstrate that the project has had a significant impact on my abilities and skills, which will assist me in advancing my career.

The Project’s Journey

The project-associated courses guided me through the numerous tasks required for it. Some of them included searching libraries for relevant literature, analyzing and synthesizing evidence, researching quality improvement methodologies, studying examples of already published projects, and investigating nursing research methodology. Furthermore, I worked on planning and approving the project with the Institutional Review Board, as well as the project’s site, and managed all the organizational aspects of the effort, including finances and schedules. The project itself incorporated carrying out the training for nurses and nursing assistants, evaluating their progress, and monitoring the procedures related to the washcloths. The data collection and analysis were also performed by me. In general, the project was a massive collection of rather diverse tasks.

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It also involved multiple challenges, including those occurring during the planning and execution stages. For instance, I had to make significant changes to the methodology for the project to be approved, and I also encountered considerable difficulty in recruiting patients when I was implementing it. Most challenges were resolved with the help of additional research and the support of my professors. Thus, the project was a complex and challenging endeavor, which means that it was an excellent learning opportunity.

DNP Essentials and the Five Pillars

AACN (2006) postulates that evidence-based practice, as well as its implementation, is a major aspect of nursing, which is why the project has helped me in developing relevant competencies. Thus, the first essential is particularly fitting since the project consisted of using evidence and nursing science to implement a quality improvement activity. That implementation was also guided by a theory by Lewin, which is not a nursing theory but has been used in nursing very frequently (Cummings, Bridgman, & Brown, 2016; Scott, 2016). Similarly, the second essential, which has a focus on quality improvement, as well as leadership, is directly connected to the project. The sixth essential is also concerned with interprofessional collaboration, and the project’s implementation stage involved a lot of practice in collaboration, communication, and leadership.

The third essential is relevant since the project incorporated a lot of literature research, as well as its evaluation and synthesis, and the fourth one can be applied due to the use of various information technologies, including databases. As a change effort, the project can also be viewed as a form of advocacy (essential V), and it is connected to preventive health (essential VII). Eventually, the focus on training the nursing staff, as well as the practice of CAUTI prevention, makes the project relevant for the eighth essential as well. Thus, this comprehensive learning activity covered all the competencies that AACN (2006) views as necessary for a DNP, which proves its ability to contribute to my professional development.

The pillars of South University (2012) constitute another applicable framework; its use demonstrates that the project incorporated all five components. I find that critical thinking was the most significant pillar since it enabled me to critically analyze and synthesize the evidence and provided me with the tools necessary for decision-making in challenging situations. The same can be said about professionalism; I was required to utilize my knowledge and competencies and improve them. Communication was another crucial component; I needed to enable and actively participate in communication with my preceptor, professors, other nurses at the site, and patients. Finally, as I was involved in providing holistic care for patients throughout the implementation stage, the pillars of caring and holism are also applicable. Therefore, the project empowered me to advance my skills, abilities, and knowledge as related to all these components of nursing practice, which further demonstrates its contribution to my professional development.

From the perspective of my career, these competencies are very valuable. As a nurse educator, I need to have rather diverse knowledge, including clinical competence, researcher skills, and teaching experience (Booth, Emerson, Hackney, & Souter, 2016; Summers, 2017). Leadership and interpersonal skills are also rather important (Patterson & Krouse, 2015). The project provided me with the opportunity to train all of them, and it also covered multiple components of nursing practice and corresponded to the AACN (2006) essentials for DNP education.

Future Career Development: A Conclusion

I have been using the AACN (2006) essentials as an analysis framework for my experiences for some time now; this reflection suggests that they are suited for this task. Furthermore, they can function as a guide for future training, as well as career development. My analysis demonstrates that the project has contributed to my expertise, but for a nurse, continuing to improve his or her skills is very important. As I proceed with my education and career pursuits, I will keep using the essentials as my guide.

References

American Association of Colleges of Nursing. (2006). The essentials of doctoral education for advanced nursing practice. Web.

Booth, T., Emerson, C., Hackney, M., & Souter, S. (2016). Preparation of academic nurse educators. Nurse Education in Practice19, 54-57.

Cummings, S., Bridgman, T., & Brown, K. (2016). Unfreezing change as three steps: Rethinking Kurt Lewin’s legacy for change management. Human Relations69(1), 33-60.

Patterson, B., & Krouse, A. (2015). Competencies for leaders in nursing education. Nursing Education Perspectives36(2), 76-82.