DNP Projects

The University of Florida College of Nursing Doctor of Nursing Practice, or DNP, program is a practice-focused doctorate designed to prepare expert nurses in specialized advanced practice roles. Graduates serve as nurse practitioners who can lead change in clinical care and healthcare policy, and they fill critical needs for primary and specialty care providers across the state of Florida and our nation.

Each DNP student completes a focused scholarly work near the end of his or her curriculum. This project focuses on identifying, analyzing and improving problems that impact patient care.

Highlighted here are just a few of our recent outstanding graduates and their DNP projects:


dnp Student project title
Abraham Ashton Improving Depression Screening in an Outpatient Setting
Mary Bilthuis Identifying Sleep Disturbances in the Adolescent Mental Health Population
Michelle Buckley Optimizing Nutrition in Elective Vascular Surgery Patients to Decrease Hospital Length of Stay
James Cockerham Chest Tube Nursing Site Assessment
Tiffany Davidson Identifying Disparities Among the Use of Do-Not-Resuscitate Orders
Kelsey Davis Decreasing New Graduate Nurse Anxiety Regarding Pediatric End-of-Life Care Using Simulation
Amanda Dorr Mental Health Screening in the Pediatric Emergency Department: A Quality Improvement Project
Daniella Fonseca Implementing a Stroke Resource Guide: A Reference Tool for Newly Hired Nurses
Abigail Gabriel Promoting Human Papillomavirus Vaccination Amongst College Students
Lauren Gold (Nunez) Effectiveness of Multimodal Pain Management Education in a Primary Care Setting


Antoinette E. Evelyn, RN | BSN to DNP Program, Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner

Project title | Pain Education for the Acute Care Nurse on Pain Mechanism of Sickle Cell Disease
Current position | Registered nurse at Shands UF Health, Gainesville FL in pediatric hematology/oncology
Mentor| Diana Wilkie, PhD, RN, FAAN

“An area of nursing always near and dear to my heart is caring for those with sickle cell disease. For my Doctor of Nursing Practice project, I wanted to choose something that was going to benefit both our patients at UF Health, as well as our nurses. I created an e-learning training module for registered nurses on the mechanisms by which sickle cell disease patients experience pain, the barriers they face with reporting their self-reported pain score, and how that translates to nursing pain interventions. This project allowed me to pilot the first UF Health Shands education module on this topic, and inspire very promising opportunity for continued nursing education in this specialty.”

Sarah H. Peacock, DNP APRN ACNP-BC | MSN to DNP Program , Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner

Sarah Peacock
Project Title | The Neuro R2 Score: Predicting High-Risk Neurologic Readmissions Within 30 Days
Current position | Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Mayo Clinic Jacksonville, FL
Mentor | Tonja Hartjes, DNP, FAANP, ACNP/FNP-BC, CCRN-CSC

“I selected this as my DNP project because working in the neuroscience ICU, we found that many of our patients were getting readmitted to the hospital, despite having a low readmission risk prediction score from the hospital-wide general readmission risk predictor. I did a preliminary study that showed our general hospital wide readmission risk calculator was not reliable in neurology and neuro ICU patients. I wanted to develop a tool that would help us to identify our patients that are at high risk of hospital readmission within 30 days in order to identify those patients and be able to develop strategies to reduce and prevent readmission.”

Leah Anne Sadler, DNP, APRN, FNP-C | MSN to DNP Program, Family Nurse Practitioner Track

Anne Sadler
Project title | Implementing Quality Improvement for Colorectal Cancer Screening in Family Practice
Current position | Family Nurse Practitioner at Ocala Health, Family Care Specialists
Mentor | Michael Bumbach, PhD, APRN, FNP-BC, RN

“Health promotion has always been a focus of nursing practice and screening for colorectal cancer (CRC) is a national mandate to improve health.  In the data driven world, it became obvious that our family practice group was markedly below the recommended guidelines for CRC screening. With the assistance of Dr. Michael Bumbach, I was able to evaluate the current processes and the effectiveness of a nurse practitioner driven quality improvement (QI) screening for colorectal cancer with home immunochemical fecal occult blood testing (iFOBT).  During the four (4) weeks of data collection, 2749 charts were reviewed, and 330 patients were overdue for CRC screening, and orders were implemented for testing using the quality improvement plan.  Ultimately, we found that approximately 30% of the iFOBT kits returned were positive for occult blood.  While this is a very brief summary of the project, it identifies major concepts.  Screening is not being accomplished and many people may be developing occult CRC.  The screening plan has been continued at our office.  The last metric reported CRC screening has increased to over 70% for our practice group.”

Hillary Simpson, DNP, CPNP-AC | BSN to DNP Program, Pediatric Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Track

Hillary Simpson, R.N
Project title | A QI Project to Explore the Feasibility, and Utility of a Disease Specific Patient/Family Educator and Standardized Discharge Teaching Plan for a Pediatric Oncology Population
Current position | Pediatric bone marrow transplant nurse practitioner
Mentor | Laurie Duckworth, PhD, BSN, MSN, APRN

“The decision to use my degree to better the care provided to pediatric oncology patients and their families was something I dreamt of prior to even beginning my graduate studies at the University of Florida. I was previously a pediatric oncology nurse and found that preparing families to care for their loved ones at home should be one of our main priorities as healthcare professionals. While implementing my project I learned just how important this notion truly was. Once a child is diagnosed with cancer, it’s often hard for families to conceptualize how to transition from the secluded hospital setting, where nurses and providers are available at a moments notice, to the unfamiliarity of what used to be their home lives. Families have often expressed how terrifying the first few nights at home are after initial diagnosis, especially those whose child has an external central line that needs special care. We ask mothers and fathers to become caregivers, medication administers, nutritionists and nurses and we ask this of them often in less than a week. After implementation of my project, I have continued to work with hospital administration to implement a patient and family specific educator whose role will be to prepare patients and their families for life both inside and outside of the hospital throughout their treatment course. As part of this initiative, I have also been working to develop a simulation curriculum for pediatric oncology caregivers to gain confidence performing care at home.”

Chelsea Anglin
Concussions in the pediatric population | Project Chairperson: L. Duckworth

Ulyana Arzamasova
Transitional care of older adults in cardiac stepdown unit | Project Chairperson: R. Lucero

Brieanna Blumenstein
Educational intervention to improve school registered nurses’ knowledge of mental health conditions that affect the family unit | Project Chairperson: L. Parker

Joel Boling
HIV Pre-Exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) in the primary care system | Project Chairperson: C. Cook

Elenora Bosman
Quality improvement process for pain management in patients with sickle cell disease | Project Chairperson: M. Ezenwa

Kristina Butler
Improving the quality of discharge teaching in LDRP regarding new born care | Project Chairperson: C. Krueger

Alexandra Coad
Can app technology improve health literacy? (In cosmetic surgery) | Project Chairperson:M. Bumbach

Samuel Dunlop
Exploring CAUTI Rates Pre and Post Standardized Protocol | Project Chairperson: L. Duckworth

Katelyn Einck
Suicide prevention | Project Chairperson: S. Citty

Angelica Estrella
Encouraging breast cancer screening among newly migrated Latinos | Project Chairperson: P. Delpech

Jessica Jawidzik
Gender differences in Narcolepsy | Project Chairperson: M. Bumbach

Megan Johnson
Development of a program implementation plan to translate the AGS/BGS guidelines for prevention of falls in older adults into practice: Applying a framework for disseminating knowledge for CDS in primary care electronic health records | Project Chairperson: R.Lucero

Katelyn Juarez
Hypertension | Project Chairperson: T. D’alessandro

Megan Klyczek-Lawn
Florida applications in a rural health clinic: A protocol development | Project Chairperson: S. Hays

Sydney McInnis
Mental Health | Project Chairperson: K. Moosvi

Alyssa McPherson
TEG-Guided blood product infusion protocol to improve outcomes in post-liver transplant patients with graft dysfunction | Project Chairperson: T. Hartjes

Anjali Mhatre
Lowering the length of stay for Asthmatics | Project Chairperson: T. Bruney

Chelsea Michaels
Can app technology improve patient health literacy? | Project Chairperson: M. Bumbach

Naomi Mostkoff
Evaluation of a GAP in HPV vaccination in Primary Care | Project Chairperson: S. Citty

Anna Napoli
Assessment of the effectiveness of mindfulness based stress reduction for parental stress and anxiety in mothers of children with autism spectrum disorder | Project Chairperson: J. Elder

Marcella Patino
Chronic sorrow in transplant patients | Project Chairperson: S. Hays

James Poole
Incorporating mindfulness practices to improve sleep in post-operative patients | Project Chairperson: T. D’alessandro

Richelle Ricer
How does therapeutic vs. non-therapeutic environment affect patient recovery on an inpatient psychiatric unit? | Project Chairperson: T. D’alessandro

Corrine Ryan
The need to screen (vitamin D) | Project Chairperson: M. Bumbach

Kelly Salinas
Re-examining pediatric cardiology home monitoring through a quality improvement collaborative | Project Chairperson: S. Hays

Abby Sapp
Comparison of antibiotic sampling from central venous catheters versus peripheral collection in pediatric cystic fibrosis patients | Project Chairperson: G. Keenan

Devon Sarvary
Assessing barriers to integrating mental health professionals into primary care setting | Project Chairperson: D. Schentrup

Hillary Simpson
What is best practice regarding parent education and CVL care for patients with hematologic/oncologic diseases | Project Chairperson: L. Duckworth

Daniella Stearns
Hypertension | Project Chairperson: T. D’alessandro

Kimberly Steele
A survey of nurse practitioner’s knowledge of impact and use of mental health services for pediatric patients diagnosed with chronic illnesses | Project Chairperson: K. Moosvi

Michael Thompson
Evaluation of compliance with electrolyte replacement with protocol | Project Chairperson: S. Citty

Hector Torres
CAUTIs in specific populations | Project Chairperson: L. Duckworth

Ariel Vulgamore
Policy change/standarization of emergency medical equipment in primary care practices | Project Chairperson: D. Schentrup

Natalie Watt
School based sex education: An overview, summary and policy review | Project Chairperson: V. Johnson-Mallard


Crystal Blair, M.S.N., ARNP, AGPCNP-BC, AGNP-C, PMHNP-BC | M.S.N. to D.N.P. Program

Crystal BlairCurrent position | Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner at Dr. Kinsler and Associates, LLC, and Psychiatric Nurse at James A. Haley Veterans Hospital
Project title | Extending APN prescriptive authority In Florida: A policy analysis

“For my Doctor of Nursing Practice project, I completed a policy analysis on Florida’s Controlled Substance Act, identifying policy gaps and proposing policy change recommendations to disseminate to legislators. Having the perspective of a novice provider is a time limited opportunity and should be communicated. This project allowed me to participate in political processes, define my voice and help shape policies that promote the health of the community and the role of the advanced practice nurse.”

Christina Eagan, R. N. | B.S.N. to D.N.P. Program, Family Nurse Practitioner Track

Christina EaganCurrent position | Assistant Director of Research, Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care, and Sleep Medicine at the University of Florida
Project title | Medication management in a medical clinic for the homeless: A quality improvement evaluation

“I chose my D.N.P. project because of a need for organization of the medication management program at a local free medical clinic. What I found the most meaningful about it was the opportunity to improve a process at a clinic that at which I have volunteered for years and to make a difference in our patients’ lives.”

Sean P. Molloy, R.N. | B.S.N. to D.N.P. Program, Family Nurse Practitioner Track

Sean P. MolloyCurrent position | Registered Nurse at the Mayo Clinic Jacksonville, Florida
Project Title | A minor miracle: Extending APRN prescriptive authority in Florida

“As a part of my doctoral studies, I worked with Dr. Kim Curry and Crystal Blair in conducting a policy analysis of HB 423 the Florida Controlled Substance Act. I chose to work on this topic because of the widespread impact of the opioid epidemic and the importance of ensuring that laws are in place that both protect patient safety while also ensuring access to care. Working on this project gave me the opportunity to work with legislatures at both the state and national levels and develop new policy recommendations that addressed pitfalls in current controlled substance prescription laws.

I am very grateful for the opportunity to have conducted my doctoral studies at the University of Florida College of Nursing and the experience and knowledge that I gained has been immense. Studying here has not only given me the tools to be a strong nursing leader and patient advocate, but it has also helped me to understand the important role that nurses play in helping to shape and develop health policy.”

Lisa Schilling, M.S.N., PNP-C | M.S.N. to D.N.P. Program

Lisa SchillingCurrent position | At a pediatric primary care clinic for the past six years. In May, 2018, she will begin employment in a pediatric endocrinology practice
Project title | A Providers Guide to Promoting Education and Resources for Families of Children with a Bilateral Cleft Lip

Lisa Schilling son“I chose this topic for my project as it has significant meaning to me. My son was born with a bilateral cleft lip, and, even though I was already a pediatric nurse practitioner, I found it difficult as a cleft mom to navigate what little resources are available. This project has started my journey to help make a difference in the lives of families affected by cleft disorders and in the cleft community.”



Kathleen Adragna
Creation of Autism-Friendly Pre-Operative Area | Project Chairperson: R. Nealis

Luisa Batine
Development of a Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome Protocol | Project Chairperson: J. Hoffman

Amanda Bennett
Process improvement for screening and treatment of Sepsis in the emergency department | Project Chairperson: D. Lester

Jaclyn Campbell
Nurses Knowledge of the Importance of Feeding Orally in Infants with Congenital Heart Disease | Project Chairperson: C. Krueger

Rebecca Cash
Heated high flow nasal cannula: A feasibility study for critical care hypoxia patients | Project Chairperson: D. Lester

Jessie Cirolia
Provider Expertise in Transgender Care

Solange Colin
The Effects of Nurse-Patient Ratios on Nurse and Patient | Project Chairperson: S. Citty

Yexica Croft
Effects of Co-Sleeping on Infant Mortality | Project Chairperson: C. Krueger

Lynette Cunday
Pathway to discharge: NICU process improvement | Project Chairperson: L. Parker

Stephanie Curtis
An Evaluation Plan for a Revised Neonatal Hypoglycemia Protocol | Project Chairperson: J. Gannon

Theodore Dage
Understanding and Utilization of Palliative Care Resources | Project Chairperson: R. Nealis

Angela Davenport
Treatment outcomes in dual diagnosis population | Project Chairperson: J. Cimiotti

Heather Davis
Suicide Prevention Among Adolescents in the High School Setting | Project Chairperson: C. Cook

Juliet Ezepue
Assessing Attitudes about Mental Health Within the Nigerian Community | Project Chairperson: J. Stacciarini

Elizabeth Gatch
Antibiotics in severe sepsis and septic shock: A Quality Improvement project to decrease time from diagnosis to initiation of antibiotic therapy to less than 60 minutes | Project Chairperson: T. Hartjes

Megan Glemza
Umbilical Cord Blood: An underutilized commodity | Project Chairperson: J. Hoffman

Gregg Graham
Group Therapy Following Joint Replacement | Project Chairperson: S. Bradley

Dominique Greene
Comprehensive needs assessment to better identify Hospice patients in the Emergency Department at UF Health | Project Chairperson: T. Hartjes

Jessica Himmelberger
Improving end-of-life advance care planning in Primary Care | Project Chairperson: D. Wilkie

Brian Huei
Assessing Florida School Districts’ adherence to Asthma management guidelines: A policy analysis | Project Chairperson: R. Lucero

Mireille Jean-Mary
HIV Stigma and Medications | Project Chairperson: K. Curry

Tara Jendzio
Standardization of cue-based feeding by utilization of the infant-driven feeding scales | Project Chairperson: L. Parker

Marcella Johnson
Inpatient Pain Management Protocols for Pediatric Sickle Cell Patients | Project Chairperson: M. Ezenwa

Diane McLaughlin
Do Prolonged Hourly Neuro Checks Contribute to Sleep Deprivation/ICU Delirium | Project Chairperson: T. Hartjes

Joanna McLaughlin
Back to sleep | Project Chairperson: L. Parker

Ashley Pleie
Create Habits, Adopt New Growth, and Enhance Self, C.H.A.N.G.E.S.: A Program Evaluation | Project Chairperson: S. Schaffer

Jennifer Powell
Implementing a consent for common procedures video in the NICU setting | Project Chairperson: L. Parker

Diana Rhys
Acoustic Modalities in Neuropsychiatry: The State of Evidence | Project Chairperson: D. Lyon

Kenneth Ryan
Evaluation of Advanced Practice Nurses’ Knowledge and Attitudes Regarding Pain Management | Project Chairperson: S. Schaffer

Tiffany Tamasfi
Exploring the Transgender Patient’s Experience Interacting with Health Care