Optimizing impact through the Tiered Doctor of Nursing Practice Project Model

Sheila Melander, Patricia B. Howard, Tracy E. Williams, Kim Tharp-Barrie, Peggy El-Mallakh, Tricia MacCallum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Colleges of Nursing (CONs) and health care organizations (HCOs) are increasingly embracing academic-practice partnerships (AcaPP). An HCO's workforce development plan prompted an AcaPP agreement with a CON for the purpose of increasing the number of doctor of nursing practice (DNP) advanced practice nurses in the HCO. Over a period of 6 years, 4 consecutive cohorts of approximately 100 HCO baccalaureate prepared nurses were enrolled in the CON DNP program. The AcaPP environment facilitates large-scale DNP projects among successive cohorts of students. The purpose of this article is to describe the innovative Tiered DNP Project Model, defined as the process by which current students build on and expand select DNP projects implemented by students in initial cohorts. The tiered approach to the DNP project is facilitated by an advising model that occurs in the context of mutually agreedupon goals and compatible with the HCO strategic plan and CON DNP program objectives. In the Tiered DNP Project Model, select studies are chosen for continuation by DNP students in subsequent cohorts based on nursing leadership guidance of alignment with HCO strategic goals. The model has resulted in driving improvements in HCO patient and systems outcomes, promoted practice scholarship, and contributed to the quality of the CON DNP program.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)263-268
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Lippincott Williams and Wilkins. All rights reserved.


  • Academic-practice partnership
  • Advising model
  • Practice improvement scholarship
  • Tiered DNP project model

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Nursing


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