DQ: Discuss which aspects were most challenging and most rewarding

DNP 801 Topic 8 DQ 1

DQ: Discuss which aspects were most challenging and most rewarding


Reflect on your different experiences in this course, from learning new tools to having to think critically to learning how to accept feedback. Discuss which aspects were most challenging and most rewarding. Based on your experience, what doctoral strategies helped you navigate these new experiences successfully (or could help you in the future)? How could you use these strategies as a leader at a local level or within the broader health care system to advocate for change?

Reflecting on my experience with this course is the fact that it appears that I have taken on too much in my plate. I am finishing up my school nursing certificate when I joined this program. I feel that I have wasted enough time in my life so that I need to start and just do it especially knowing that I am only taking one class at a time. Life and other things get in the way. I entered this program because it has always been my desire to reach the pinnacle of learning and knowledge of any career that I choose, not for title but for knowledge. It may not have been as stressful if I did not have life to contend with such as personal life, family life, spiritual life and work life.

One of the greatest challenges I have and still have with this course, is the challenge of understanding the navigations with technology. Go there, go here, click on this, click on that. I understand things but I learn slow, life is so fast paced and apparently learning that if you do not get it quickly, you are left behind so you are continuously struggling to catch up. I find that that has happened to me with learning computer technology. With this program, I believe that it was quite confusing and still is, the various information and sites that we had to click into and navigate to get to information and because of the pressure of lack of time and the due dates coupled with our other life plans, and our fear of starting something new, it made it difficult to understand. I hope that I will understand it better as I settle into this program. If and when I pass this class.

My second challenge with this course is the instructions given. No offense to Dr. Etheridge because it is not her fault, but the faculty that has set this program. The instructions are quite voluminous and not so easy to understand and there are several places you have

DQ Discuss which aspects were most challenging and most rewarding
DQ Discuss which aspects were most challenging and most rewarding

to go to get information. Maybe that is the way it works with other school’s programs. I do not know, but must it be so confusing. I know that I wanted to drop out that first week and many of my classmates too, but we kept at it with a lot of stress. I wish that the faculty would make the instructions a little simpler especially since this is the first class. I was talking to a friend and she said that this is why she prefers in person classes. It appears that online students are inundated with so much information that we have to figure out for ourselves. Though, I tried to reach out to Dr. Etheridge and she explained them, thank you but because of my lack of time, I did not always reach out to her on time and I felt self-conscious to keep asking her questions which is the problem that students have. We do not want to keep asking for clarification because it makes us look, one stupid and two, we feel like we are bothering the professor.

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My third challenge that is based on technology is my difficulty with finding articles especially recent articles. I could not find recent articles within the five years limit. Most times, when I find the best article, it is several years old. I was so frustrated one time that I finally called the Librarian and the young man that helped me also had difficulty finding recent articles on the topic I was using. The librarian taught me one or two things on how to find articles and I have used it but it does not always work but I need more training, to learn the proper skills needed on how to find articles. I don’t even mind paying for the training but the other issue is my lack of time. I cannot add another stressor to my plate at this time in my life.

All the new navigation tools that I have learned have been helpful but I need to understand how to maneuver them well. I am still learning how to think critically in terms of research and the DPI projects. How to pick the right topic that does not involve starting new research and how to pick the right question, learning PICOT-D is new to me. Also, finding the literature and learning to differentiate the levels of evidence of different articles is great but I still need to understand it better. This doctoral learning process is profitable because no knowledge is a waste. It will help me in future as a leader at a local level to be able to identify issues and work on finding evidence-based solutions for them and when they are implemented at a local level and it works, then it can be advocated for a broader level of change. As a student, knowing and understanding the seven steps for EBP- cultivation of a spirit of enquiry, asking questions, acquiring information, appraising the information, applying the knowledge and assessing the implementation of the knowledge will improve my ability to find solutions to issues in the health care profession. This requires a positive attitude, skills of research and support from health professionals and the organization (Mena-Tudela, González-Chordá, Cervera-Gasch, Maciá-Soler, & Orts-Cortés, 2018).

Also, as a doctoral student, it will be great to master the concepts that are specific to the research for one to be an independent researcher or nurse scientist. If these concepts are not mastered, the student may be ‘stuck’ in the learning process journey which would place the student in a state of liminality, a transition space of uncertainty. Therefore, there is a need for educational policies that support strategies with time to develop student writing, community building for the students and cultivates faculty-student relationships (Tyndall, Firnhaber, & Kistler, 2021).


Mena-Tudela, D., González-Chordá, V. M., Cervera-Gasch, A., Maciá-Soler, M. L., & Orts-Cortés, M. I. (2018). Effectiveness of an evidence-based practice educational intervention with second-year nursing students. Revista Latino-Americana de Enfermagem26(0).

Tyndall, D. E., Firnhaber, G. C., & Kistler, K. B. (2021). An integrative review of threshold concepts in doctoral education: Implications for PhD nursing programs. Nurse Education Today99, 104786.


My most challenging aspect in this course was that of searching for literature. Literature forms an integral component of all evidence-based projects by; helping a researcher and the audience to comprehend the complexity surrounding a clinical issue, providing insights on the scope of a clinical issue, and the best, most recent, evidence-based intervention strategies for the issue (Bramer et al., 2018). Without proper literature, a learner’s evidence-based practice project cannot progress. However, since there is a lot of published literature in this digital age, it calls for good skills to search for the most relevant literature to a clinical issue. If not done in a stepwise approach, the process can be tiring, time consuming, and easily result in disinterest or abandonment of the search. When a learner successfully accomplishes the step on literature search, the step on analysis and integration is easy.

The most rewarding aspect was learning how to formulate clinical questions using the PICOT-D tool. According to Eriksen & Frandsen (2018), allowing nurses to formulate interventions based on the clinical issues they identify from their areas of practice provides a good foundation for evidence-based practice they can relate with. Another rewarding aspect was learning more about plagiarism, referencing, and citation that purpose to acknowledge one’s dependence on another researcher’s work and to differentiate it from that of sources used by a researcher (Kumar, 2021).

The doctoral strategy that helped navigate this experience was obtaining knowledge on how to conduct a successful literature search; developing the PICOT clinical question, identifying databases and criteria to search for literature, conducting the search, selecting relevant articles, and organizing the findings in a literature evaluation table. Advocating for change is one of the roles of nurse leaders in practice and encompasses  processes such as identifying an issue to address, developing goals, and strategies to address the issue (Eriksen & Frandsen, 2018).  I will utilize the knowledge obtained in this course in such instances to search for literature for potential evidence-based solutions to address issues at community and population level for health promotion and disease prevention.

As a DNP learner at GCU gave me an opportunity to integrate with my values as a Christian. Through this 8 week period I have learned to prepare myself to advance my practice in clinical role. Prioritizing what is important and what needs to be done. Making sure that I have time to self care and spend time with my family to keep me insane and not be stressed out all the time. Using critical thinking is important in our professional, we always make decisions that should always focus on patient safety. Assessing learning is essential for our professional development especially in addressing patient outcomes. Nursing Professional Development Practitioners (NPDPs) have the opportunity to help learners identify individual learning style preferences, design educational initiatives in a way that supports various learning style preferences and provide opportunities for learning to occur in a way that matches preferred learning styles (Hawkes & Hendricks- Jackson, 2017). Using a correct research will help identify good resource on what to use for evidence-practiced and making sure that it will improve clinical outcome. Learned also that understanding bias is important and that we should always try to avoid it and plagiarism should not be applied at anytime at all.

There are challenges that I encountered with my class but as time goes by I was able to resolve it by asking for help and guidance with our Professor. Some assignments I had a difficulty understanding and could not figure out how to proceed with it. I have to literally read it few times, search it online and ask so I can answer it correctly. Delaying in writing my assignment sometimes is a challenge to me too. But trying to self reflect and thinking that I should stay on track is important and I don’t want to be behind and that keeps me going. Staying engaged with the class is sometimes difficult but should be included if you want to succeed as a DNP learner. I realized that engaging with your classmates and professor can help both ways and it is beneficial to all. Supportive environment can provide encouragement and guidance to us learners and we can achieve our main goal. Reflection is important to because with this we get to improve ourselves and better our learning and education.




Hawkes, B., Hendricks-Jackson, L. Nursing professional development:review and resource manual. 4. Silver Spring, MD: American Nurses Credentialing Center/American Nurses Association; 2017.