Doctor of nursing practice program capacity building and scalability: Improving the capstone experience

Helen Miley, Courtney Reinisch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Innovations in the educational process are required to address the divergent needs of nursing students depending on their point of entry, either postbaccalaureate or postmaster’s degree preparation. The requirement of the scholarly doctor of nursing practice (DNP) project demands significant student and faculty resources. With the variability of students’ education, practice experience, and interest, the expectations of the project need to fit the needs of the adult learner. Linking these projects to clinical settings is an end goal for these efforts which supports the scalability of these programs. Faculty from Rutgers School of Nursing considers practice change and quality improvement a priority in preparation of the DNP graduate. With curricular enhancements, students are considering patient access, safety, and quality from the beginning of their doctoral education. An innovative course series progression was implemented to prepare students for the scholarly practice evaluation. In addition, capstone and residency courses were reformatted to assist students in evaluating models of evaluation, systems of care, and to further define the issue they wish to address through their scholarly inquiry. Throughout the clinical doctoral preparation, students are encouraged to evaluate practice in a standardized critical format and ultimately, execute a scholarly project. By linking these projects to the clinical setting, the DNP program increases its scalability. Connecting the academic institution with the clinical setting allows for increase student access to learning experiences and the capability of scholarly projects to continue in the setting. Faculty resources are well used in this manner. This process allows for continued capacity building within the academic and clinical setting.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)69-72
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Doctoral Nursing Practice
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2016


  • Capacity building
  • Capstone project
  • Curricular enhancement
  • Practice improvement
  • Scalability


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