By Faculty for Faculty| Volume 19, ISSUE 3, 104530, March 2023

Curricular Revision to Increase Use of Quality Improvement Principles in Doctor of Nursing Practice Projects

Published:February 02, 2023DOI:


      • Quality improvement (QI) methods are necessary for DNP students’ projects to demonstrate practice improvements.
      • Faculty development is needed to support doctor of nursing practice (DNP) student application of QI methods.
      • Measurable DNP project aims form the basis for demonstrating impact of DNP projects.



      A gap was identified related to students’ use of quality improvement (QI) methodologies in their final project, so a curricular change was made to incorporate a health care QI methods course in the curriculum.


      We compared the use of SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound) aims and QI evaluation methodologies in doctor of nursing practice (DNP) project proposals in 2 cohorts before and after the curriculum change.


      A total of 88 DNP proposals were evaluated.


      Including a QI course increased the use of SMART aims but did not influence the use of QI methodologies. Future interventions will target faculty development related to QI.


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      Julee B. Waldrop, DNP, FNP-BC, PNP-BC, CNE, SANE-A, FAANP, FAAN, is professor and assistant dean for the DNP Program and chair of the DNP Committee at Duke University School of Nursing, Durham, NC. Dr Waldrop can be reached at [email protected]


      Staci S. Reynolds, PhD, RN, ACNS-BC, CCRN, CNRN, SCRN, CPHQ, is an associate professor and chair of the DNP Program Committee at Duke University School of Nursing in Durham, NC. Disclosure: Julee Waldrop is the Editor-in-Chief of JNP. This manuscript’s evaluation and revisions were managed by other JNP editors.