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Nursing Doctoral Education: Project Management

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing [AACN] (2006) proposes several Essentials of Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) education. Essential VIII will be the focus of the present reflection, which will aim to review and evaluate the current course from the perspective of project management, as well as fiscal considerations. Essential VIII includes seven sub-competencies, which are associated with health assessments, interventions (their design, implementation, and evaluation), and various professional relationships. Furthermore, the sub-competencies include evidence-based care, mentorship with respect to other nurses, education with respect to different individuals, and the “use of conceptual and analytical skills” (AACN, 2006, p. 17). In summary, Essential VIII is complex, and while its last sub-competency is directly connected to the present course, the rest of them are also applicable and can be used for analysis and reflection.

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From the point of view of project management, which was the main theme of the course, the Business plan project may have been the most relevant task. My business plan was also directly connected to my DNP project, which has evolved as a result of my learning throughout the previous few weeks. The topic remains the Behavioral and Psychological Symptoms of Dementia (BPSD), but I have changed the focus, and now the project is concerned with the evidence-based guidelines meant for BPSD management (rather than BPSD training). Said guidelines are very rare; they are not tailored to the specifics of a correctional institution, which is my workplace. However, I was able to locate the article by Tible, Riese, Savaskan, and Gunten (2017), which has supported and expanded my knowledge on the topic. Therefore, I can suggest that the process of planning my project has helped me to develop my expertise related to detecting and managing BPSD, which may be characterized as the improvements that are associated with the first and second sub-competencies.

Furthermore, the Business Plan project also involved direct planning complete with financial analyses. In this respect, I would suggest that the seventh sub-competency is of importance: I employed analytical and conceptual skills to resolve a set of specific issues with a focus on their fiscal aspect, as well as other business planning elements. I should point out that I do not consider myself to be well-versed in fiscal matters. However, the project provided me with the opportunity to refresh some of my knowledge, collect some new information, and practice related analyses.

Also, the research for the business plan helped me to locate a few books that consider business planning and financial management as applied to nursing (Penner, 2016; Waxman, 2017). I found them most helpful for my project, and I intend to use them in future for similar tasks. Also, I encountered a book on prisons and healthcare, which, from my perspective, offers a good analysis of the issues that are present in my workplace settings (Ross, 2017). Consequently, it is also relevant for the final sub-competency: it provides me with the information that is pertinent for planning within correctional institutions.

Furthermore, the project involved considering the interrelationships with various stakeholders, which makes it pertinent to the third sub-competency. Moreover, the specifics of the plan involved education and evidence-based practice implementation, especially among nurses. As a result, the fourth, fifth, and sixth sub-competencies were also incorporated by the project. However, the latter might not provide me with the opportunity to practice most of the relevant skills. Indeed, the interpersonal skills (that are required for maintaining relationships) were trained during the needs assessment phase, which required collaborating with stakeholders, but other than that, the project mostly involved planning the relevant activities. Still, I reviewed related knowledge and applied it to project management. I feel rather confident with respect to these competencies, which is why I do not believe that their modest coverage in the course is a problem.

Other activities also contributed to my professional development. In particular, weekly discussions required obtaining the knowledge related to business planning, including aspects like fiscal issues and leadership concerns, and using it for specific tasks and problems. For example, the first discussion of the sixth week required applying the concept of marketing to my project, which I had done before without realizing it since my project is not for profit. However, marketing is a crucial thing for non-profit activities since they also need to be “sold” to their stakeholders (Lamb, Hair, & McDaniel, 2017). As a result, the discussions provided me with information, insights, and an opportunity to practice the skills that are relevant to Essential VIII and business planning.

In summary, since I am not a business planning expert, I found the present course very insightful and helpful. The activities might have been mostly concerned with the final sub-essential, which I need to focus on in future to develop my related competencies better. However, at this point, my tasks tend to require the integration of rather diverse knowledge and skills. As a result, the remaining sub-competencies are also applicable to my work, and I find that the course has promoted my professional development with respect to all of them.

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From the project management perspective (including its fiscal element), Essential VIII is particularly relevant. The application of Essential VIII allows me to reflect on the course and shows that I have some of the sub-competencies better developed while others may require additional attention. However, based on this reflection, it is apparent that the course has contributed to my professional development with respect to the skills that are pertinent to project management and all the considered sub-essentials. Thus, the Essential is a helpful evaluation tool.


American Association of Colleges of Nursing. (2006). The essentials of doctoral education for advance nursing practice. Washington, DC: Author.

Lamb, C., Hair, J., & McDaniel, C. (2017). Mktg 11 (11th ed.). Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.

Penner, S. (2016). Economics and financial management for nurses and nurse leaders (3rd ed.). New York, NY: Springer Publishing Company.

Ross, M. (2017). Health and health promotion in prisons. New York, NY: Routledge.

Tible, O., Riese, F., Savaskan, E., & von Gunten, A. (2017). Best practice in the management of behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia. Therapeutic Advances in Neurological Disorders, 10(8), 297-309. Web.

Waxman, K. (Ed.). (2017). Financial and business management for the Doctor of Nursing Practice (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Springer Publishing Company.

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