Project and Practicum Guidelines

Project and Practicum Guidelines

You should start your introduction with a powerful statement or two to stimulate interest. You should identify the purpose of your paper and provide a preview of what the paper will include. Remember that formal papers are in third person so no I, me, we except in sections of the paper that are a reflection of your personal experiences.

Significance of the Practice Problem

Start this section with identification of the practice problem. This section should also answer the question “why is this important?” You should address the significance to the patient/client (e.g., pain, suffering, quality of life, impact on income potential, etc.), the family, healthcare system (e.g., impact on cost or delivery systems), and society (e.g., cost of care, need for healthcare policy). Discuss the incidence and/or prevalence and include the financial impact if at all possible. You might discuss the impact on length of stay, readmission, home health care requirements, disability and/or mortality. Also, you should address any quality, safety, legal, and ethical implications. This discussion must be substantiated by citations from professional literature. 

PICOT Question

This section should include your PICOT question but also should provide thorough descriptions of your population, intervention, comparison intervention, outcome, and timing (if appropriate to your question). This section contains, in essence, your operational definitions of the variables in the question. If you use definitions from the literature be sure to cite them.

Theoretical Framework

This section should include the theoretical framework which supports your project. Describe a theory or model to serve as the foundation for your project. This may be a nursing theory or a theory from another discipline if pertinent and applicable.

Synthesis of the Literature

Synthesize at least 10 primary research studies and/or systematic reviews; do not include summary articles. This section is all about the scientific evidence rather than someone else’s opinion of the evidence. Do not use secondary sources; you need to get the article, read it, and make your own decision about quality and applicability to your question even if you did find out about the study in a review of the literature. The studies that you cite in this section must relate directly to your PICOT question. This is a synthesis rather than a study by study review. Address the similarities, differences, and controversies in the body of evidence.

Practice Recommendations

So. . . using available evidence, what is the answer to your question? This section is for you to summarize the strength of the body of evidence (quality, quantity, and consistency), make a summary statement, and based on your conclusions drawn from the review, give a recommendation for practice change based on scientific evidence. This would logically be the intervention of your PICOT question. You might want to design an algorithm and include it in as a figure. Perhaps you found substantiation for usual practice, and you recommend reinforcement and education regarding this best practice.

Project Setting

This section should include a description of the setting of the DNP project. Include the type of setting, description of a typical client, and the vision and mission, and organizational structure and culture. Describe how organizational need was established. Identify the stakeholders. Describe how organizational support was confirmed and plans for sustainability. Briefly discuss the SWOT analysis and include it as an Appendix.

Project Vision, Mission, and Objectives

This section should include the vision, mission, vision, and objectives of your project. Describe the setting for your project and discuss the congruence between your project’s mission and vision statements and the mission and vision of the organization where the project will be conducted. Include discussion of short-term and long-term objectives of the project. Discuss risks and unintended consequences of the project.

Project Plan

This section should begin with a description of your change model and why it was selected as the model for this specific change. You should learn about the model from a primary source (i.e., do not cite a textbook). The model that you select should be appropriate to the change that you are recommending (i.e., individual change or organizational change. Use the model to describe the practice change that you recommend even if that is reinforcement and education regarding the status quo. Your change process should be specific to your setting. You may make each step of the model a level 2 heading (title case and flush left) and then describe how you would implement that step of the change in your selected setting. Your change process must be specific to your question and the answer that you found through your literature review and your setting. It should be a well thought-out process using the model as a guide. Include discussion of barriers and facilitators. Include your schedule as an Appendix in the form of a schedule or a Gantt chart. You should address the timeframe for the change process and the evaluation keeping in mind that this project needs to be achievable within your last two practicum courses. Include resources required for your project and a budget. Discuss your role in the project and the leadership qualities and skills that will be utilized for successful completion of the project.

This section may be in first person.

Project Evaluation Plan

This section must include how you are going to evaluate the planned change project. Remember that your plan must evaluate the outcome(s) identified in your PICOT question. Discuss recruitment and selection of participants or subjects including inclusion and exclusion criteria. Discuss the evaluation design and whether you will use primary or secondary data for the comparison group. Discuss formative and summative criteria for evaluation and time points for the evaluation. Describe and include any tool(s) that are to be used in your project evaluation as Appendices and discuss the reliability and validity of the tool(s). Identify the type of data (i.e., nominal, ordinal, interval, or continuous) produced by the evaluation tool(s). Discuss how you will control extraneous variables. Discuss planned analysis of your evaluation data. Discuss how you will protect human rights and ensure privacy of health information.

This section may be in first person.

Plans for Dissemination

This section should include your plan for sharing the results of your project within the institution and within the professional community. Discuss who would be invited to the presentation of results at the institution and your plan for how you will present the information. Also, discuss your plans for presentation at regional or national meetings and/or publication. If publication is planned, discuss what journal you will submit your manuscript to and why.

This section may be in first person.


The conclusion should start with a statement regarding the intention of the paper and your achievement toward that intention. Also, it should briefly say what was included in the paper. Remember that the introduction is a preview and this section should contain a summary.


Remember that this is a reference list rather than a bibliography. A bibliography is everything you read to prepare the paper but a reference list is only what you cited. If there is not a citation for a reference, it should not be here. PLEASE make sure that your references and your citations throughout the paper are in cvorrect format, eg in APA format. You can go from an A paper to a B paper on APA errors alone. Take the time to make sure that they are correct. 

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