D.N.P. Students Present Postgraduate Projects

Patients discharged from Gifford Health Care in Randolph, Vermont, are less likely to suffer relapses or require readmission than before, thanks to a Quality Improvement project by Megan O’Brien, a CNHS Postgraduate Doctor of Nursing Practice (D.N.P.) student. For her graduate research project, O’Brien developed a system for hospital patients to receive better discharge instructions, faster access to follow-up appointments and check-in phone calls to foster patient self-care. Enhanced discharge helped improve patient outcomes and increase the hospital’s overall rating. Professor Stuart Whitney served as O’Brien’s faculty advisor.

O’Brien’s project was one of five presented on October 24 at a special session featuring endeavors of CNHS D.N.P. students. The students are registered nurses or nurse practitioners with master’s degrees in nursing, seeking roles in advanced nursing practice as nurse practitioners or executive nurse leaders in diverse health care settings. Their projects provide a forum for demonstrating their ability to apply the best evidence to promote clinical excellence as emerging leaders in health care delivery. 

Demonstrating Leadership

Presenting the projects gives the students the opportunity to share their conclusions with colleagues and other health care professionals from throughout the region. Additional presentations included:

Lynne McMorrow developed a formal quality improvement process at Cold Hollow Family Practice in Enosburg Falls, Vermont, for patients with Type 2 diabetes. The process uses motivational interviewing and individualized health risk assessment to engage patients in dialogue about self-change behaviors, leading to improved patient self-care. Professor Carol Buck-Rolland served as faculty advisor.

Louise Rosales created a standardized process for diagnosing ADHD in family practice settings, increasing provider confidence around intervention and treatment. Professor Ellen Long-Middleton served as faculty advisor.

Ann Burzynski investigated crisis psychiatric care at the Central Vermont Medical Center Emergency Department. Her analysis of treatment timelines, staffing roles, billing reimbursement barriers and training for mental health technicians suggested that crisis psychiatric stabilization care along with adequate staffing can be cost-effective. Brenda Hamel Bissell served as faculty advisor.

Seleem Choudhury implemented a process for empowering patients over the age of 75 to dress and wear their own clothes during hospital stays, thereby preventing loss of mobility, fitness and muscle strength generated by immobility and reducing patients’ length of stay in the hospital. Professor Hendrika Maltby served as faculty advisor.

According to Buck-Rolland, Director of the Graduate Program, the students remarked that presenting their projects “facilitated their understanding of how the various components of the D.N.P. program fit together to develop their leadership skills and expertise.”


Janet Lynn Essman Franz
Nursing Professor Stuart Whitney congratulates his advisee, Megan O'Brien, on her postgraduate project presentation.
Postgraduate Doctor of Nursing Practice students gather for their project presentations. Pictured, top row L-R: Ann Burzynski, Seleem Choudhury, Lynn McMorrow. Bottom row, Megan O'Brien, Louise Rosales.