An Innovative DNP Academic Advising Model: Meeting Student Needs and Streamlining Faculty Efforts

Sunday, 29 October 2017: 4:35 PM

Karen A. Hande, DNP, RN, ANP-BC, CNE
School of Nursing, DNP Program, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN, USA

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) educational programs are designed from the Essentials to support students in developing the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed by leaders of advanced nursing practice.1 Students need coaching and assistance, especially as they develop and implement the DNP Project to meet these competencies.2 The AACN does not specify or recommend a model of advising.2 Doctoral students require instruction to organize their curriculum, cope with school-life-work balance, design the DNP project, confirm completion of all Essentials, and evolve into the role of a nurse-leader.3 The purpose of this presentation is to describe a DNP-specific academic advising model to assist other DNP programs in meeting student needs and streamlining faculty effort.

The needs of DNP students are not being met by current advising methods which has contributed to dissatisfaction among faculty and program directors. Results of a recent survey of DNP program directors throughout the United States indicated high rates of faculty dissatisfaction with student advising and the project process. Eighty-seven percent of faculty were dissatisfied or somewhat dissatisfied with the final project; only 2% were satisfied.4  The results of an internal DNP faculty survey in August 2016 confirmed a need for a new advising model to conserve faculty time and promote student satisfaction and achievement. Common models of DNP advising are outdated or ineffective. A new team-based model created on existing models of nursing advising may modernize the approach to guide students through doctoral education and enhance preparation for the nurse-leader role5.

In response to the need for a DNP advising model, the faculty at a school of nursing created an evidence-based, student-centered approach to advise students throughout their doctoral education. The DNP advising model is an innovative process to empower students to capitalize on their educational experiences, and enhance professional and personal apirations throughout their careers. Founded on the principles of the Appreciative Advising (AA) model, the DNP advising model highlights the faculty-student relationship by empowering students’ strengths. The model assumes each student has talents and skills and can achieve their goals. The DNP-specific model contains four major components: advising process aligned with the six stages of AA (Disarm, Discover, Dream, Design, Deliver, and Don’t Settle)6; individual advising; group meetings; and faculty selection, preparation, and workload. To ensure engagement and model fidelity, regular student questionnaires and detailed faculty guides are included. Future research is needed to evaluate the effects of the DNP advising model.