DNP 815 Topic 8 Reflective Journal

The purpose of the following reflective journal essay is to describe personal experiences when taking DNP-815A. Like other advanced practice courses, DNP-815A advances nurses’ knowledge to handle complex health problems as they strive to improve patient outcomes. The reflections herein are an honest, in-depth analysis of personal journey in achieving the course objectives and competencies related to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) Essentials of Doctoral Education for Advanced Nursing Practice (2022). Generally, the essay reflects how learning occurred and its connection to AACN Essentials.


DNP 815A creates a solid foundation for the nurse student to apply science into advanced nursing practice. It offers an excellent opportunity for learners to integrate core program competencies and specialty practice requirements to exhibit proficiency in advanced nursing practice. This reflective journal describes the various learning experiences that were critical in the completion of the course. They include activities related to the DPI project and weekly analysis of the experiences that helped to achieve the course’s competencies. The complex and insightful learning experiences involved the following AACN essentials.

Essential 1: Scientific Underpinnings for Practice

The nursing discipline focuses on the nursing actions that positively impact the health status of different populations. By advancing their clinical knowledge and experience, DNP graduates acquire practice expertise gleaned from sciences which prepares them to translate knowledge properly and effectively to benefit patients (AACN, 2022). The course prepares the DNP nurse to use science-based theories and concepts to advance strategies that enhance health and alleviate health problems.

In the first week, the discussions were aligned on the process of theory building and applying a nursing theory to guide the DNP project. A theory-based approach is vital in advanced practice since it allows nurses to implement nursing care purposefully and theoretically (Gasaba et al., 2021). Further developments occurred in the second week through an in-depth discussion of the application of deductive versus inductive reasoning and its relevance in nursing theory. Other learning experiences in these two weeks included meeting the preceptor and discussing what the DNP project entails with a focus on the PICOT and how to source scientific evidence from scholarly sources. This discovery of what a nursing theory constitutes and the essentials of scientific evidence prepared the DNP student to apply science-based theories in quality improvement for patients and populations.

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Essential II: Organizational and Systems Leadership for Quality Improvement and Systems Thinking

Essential II focuses on the nursing skills vital for eliminating health disparities, promoting patient safety, and achieving excellence in practice. Consequently, the DNP program prepares the nurse to develop care delivery approaches that meet patient populations’ current and future needs (McCauley et al., 2020; Rivaz et al., 2021). These care delivery approaches should also be based on scientific findings. Learning experiences crucial to achieving these competencies included exploring a patient care problem (pressure ulcers) and recommending an intervention (preventive bundle) based on the PICOT approach. Other activities through weeks three and four included discussing and reviewing the selected population (elderly and debilitated patients) with the preceptor, and reviewing the available records. As Neal-Boylan (2020) stressed, the DNP degree prepares nurses to implement evidence-based practice to offer innovative solutions based on credible research findings. As a result, the DNP nurse searched for credible research to develop the PICOT. The discussions and assignments were centered on connecting nursing theory and evidence-based change models. These experiences challenged the learner to identify health problems and suggest evidence-based solutions for promoting patient safety and practice excellence.

Essential III: Clinical Scholarship and Analytical Methods for Evidence-Based Practice

Scholarly nursing practice involves applying new discoveries to address complex practice situations. DNP 815A prepares the DNP nurse to integrate knowledge from diverse sources to solve practice problems and improve health outcomes. As stressed under Essential III, the program prepared the nurse to critically appraise literature to determine the best evidence for practice (AACN, 2022). Various learning experiences helped the nurse to develop these competencies. They included developing quality improvement methodologies (preventive bundle to reduce pressure ulcers) and critically appraising relevant literature to determine the best evidence for implementation. An analytical approach involved sourcing quantitative studies and selecting the most appropriate for developing the PICOT/project question. Other learning experiences included discussions and assignments through week five to week eight on exploring literature, disseminating findings, and examining patterns of behaviors and outcomes. These experiences and insights prepared and challenged the learner to achieve the primary course objective of applying science to advanced nursing practice.


The DNP-815A course prepares nurse students to apply science in practice while incorporating vital philosophical, ethical, and historical foundations. The purpose of this reflection essay was to summarize the exemplars that were instrumental in enabling the nurse student to fulfill the course objectives and AACN’s Essentials. As discussed in the essay, weekly discussions, assignments, and project-related activities enabled the learner to expand individual knowledge and skills. Other learning experiences included scholarly research, implementing the findings where appropriate, and discussions with the preceptor.


AACN. (2022). DNP Essentials.

Gasaba, E., Ntiranyibagira, B., Joseph, I., Uwamariya, T., Nkurikiye, E., Hategekimana, P., … & Niyongabo, E. (2021). Nursing theory and its practices in two health care facilities of Bujumbura. Open Journal of Nursing11(9), 757-771.

McCauley, L. A., Broome, M. E., Frazier, L., Hayes, R., Kurth, A., Musil, C. M., … & Villarruel, A. M. (2020). Doctor of nursing practice (DNP) degree in the United States: Reflecting, readjusting, and getting back on track. Nursing Outlook68(4), 494-503.

Neal-Boylan, L. (2020). PhD or DNP? That is the question. The Journal for Nurse Practitioners16(2), A5-A6.

Rivaz, M., Shokrollahi, P., Setoodegan, E., & Sharif, F. (2021). Exploring the necessity of establishing a doctor of nursing practice program from experts’ views: A qualitative study. BMC Medical Education21(1), 1-7.

Assessment Description

Learners must maintain a reflective journal integrating self-reflection and inquiry demonstrated in the current Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) course.

General Requirements:

Use the following information to ensure successful completion of the assignment:

  • Download the “Reflective Journal Template,” located in the DNP PI Workspace, for submission. Directions provided in the template should be followed because they align to the assignment rubric.
  • A minimum of three peer-reviewed references published within the last 5 years is required.
  • Doctoral learners are required to use the current APA style for their essay writing assignments. The current APA Style Guide is located in the Student Success Center.
  • This assignment uses a rubric. Review the rubric before beginning the assignment to become familiar with the expectations for successful completion.
  • You are required to submit this assignment to LopesWrite. A link to the LopesWrite technical support articles is located in Class Resources if you need assistance.
  • Learners will submit this assignment using the assignment dropbox in the digital classroom. In addition, learners must upload this deliverable to the Learner Dissertation Page (LDP) in the DNP PI Workspace for later use. Failure to submit the reflective journal to both locations can result in an Incomplete for the course.


Using a scholarly approach, maintain a reflective journal integrating self-reflection and inquiry demonstrated in the current DNP course.

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