Essential VIII proposed by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing [AACN] (2006) as a part of its Doctor of Nursing Practice Essentials is concerned with advanced nursing practice. It incorporates seven sub-competencies, including those related to health assessment, intervention development, evidence-based practice, and various interpersonal skills (relationship development, education, support, and so on). Also, one of the sub-essentials is concerned with the analysis and evaluation of the “links among practice, organizational, population, fiscal, and policy issues” (p. 17). The mentioned sub-essentials can be employed as an evaluation tool, and in the present paper, I will apply it to my experience in the current course. In particular, I will demonstrate that the sub-competencies can be used to evaluate and illustrate my progress.
The primary activities of the present course were the finalization of my project and the development of presentations for my participants and peers. My project was concerned with the implementation of the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (2016) depression guidelines, which implies that it was pertinent to the fourth sub-essential that refers to evidence-based practice. However, during the finalization stages, I was particularly interested in the evaluation of my project. Special tools were designed to ensure my ability to appraise both its outcomes and the processes. In particular, the outcomes, which were concerned with quality improvement, were assessed with the help of the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (2017) quality indicators, and the processes were evaluated with the help of group interviews. I believe that this experience has advanced my ability to assess evidence-based practice, which implies that my competencies related to the fourth sub-essential were notably improved.
Similarly, the evaluation procedures involved the application of analytical skills and systems thinking, which are likely to be useful for the first, second, and seventh sub-competencies. The final stage of my project did not involve actions that would be directly geared towards expanding my ability to assess health or implement therapeutic interventions. However, the skillset required for such activities was still applied and developed during the course.
The experience of developing presentations for the participants and peers can be evaluated with the help of the third, fifth, and sixth sub-competencies. Indeed, throughout the project, I built working relationships with the participants (including nurses and management), which were mostly guided by the advice offered by Kotter (2012) with respect to leadership and Rogers (2010) with respect to the management of individual innovation adoption. The advice proved to be helpful, and I intend to use it in future. The relationships had the eventual aim of improving the quality of care (which was the aim of the project), which is why they are applicable to sub-essential three. Also, during the presentation of the results to the participants, I trained my skills related to education and guidance, including abilities related to speech, delivery of information, use of visual aids, and so on. Similarly, my presentations to the peers helped me to develop the same skillset, which is particularly important for me as an educator.
I also employed in practice some of the advice provided by the sources on the topic of presentation development, including those by Heinrich (2012) and Vollman (2005). In particular, the analysis of the audience proved to be very helpful: my presentations to the participants and peers were notably different. Indeed, the one for the former was more focused on results and meant to motivate by indicating short-term wins (Kotter, 2012); the other one was intended for reflection and the consideration of methodology. Both included all the most important information, but I do not think that the participants would be very interested in every detail of the methodology or that the peers would need sustainability-related components as much as the participants. As a result, I consider my choices successful. The use of the previously studied theory will help me to employ it more effectively in the future.
As the final part of the DNP project, this course also involved a lot of reflection on the results, which was carried out with the help of portfolio development. This experience helps me to note that my whole DNP program has been assisting me in the improvement of my competencies pertinent to Essential VIII and other Essentials. Some of the activities might have contributed more to specific sub-competencies (for example, the presentations were more helpful from the perspective of interpersonal skills than the project assessment), but in general, they all worked towards the same goal: my professional development. Overall, I feel relatively well-prepared to carry out the activities that are listed in Essential VIII, and I believe that the latter can be employed as an evaluation tool.
The present reflection demonstrates that the current course has contributed to the development of my sub-competencies pertinent to Essential VIII. In particular, the examples of my DNP project finalization and related presentations demonstrate that I have been working on the skills that can be helpful with respect to all the seven sub-competencies. The course might not have targeted all of them, but it contributed to all of them nonetheless. When applying Essential VIII to this course, I can see my progress with specific examples and determine my preparedness to carry out the activities mentioned by AACN (2006). Therefore, the sub-essentials can indeed be used to evaluate my progress.
American Association of Colleges of Nursing. (2006). The essentials of doctoral education for advance nursing practice. Washington, DC: Author.
Heinrich, K. T. (2012). Four steps to preparing irresistible presentations. American Nurse Today, 7(3), 22-24. Web.
Kotter, J. (2012). Leading change. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press.
National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. (2016). Depression in adults: Recognition and management. Web.
National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. (2017). Depression in adults. Web.
Rogers, E.M. (2010). Diffusion of innovations (4th ed.). New York, NY: Simon and Schuster.
Vollman, K. (2005). Enhancing presentation skills for the advanced practice nurse: Strategies for success. AACN Clinical Issues: Advanced Practice in Acute and Critical Care, 16(1), 67-77. Web.