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DNP Series: The Search

Posted Jul 19 2010 4:19am

I recently wrote about my pursuit of the DNP and my rationale for it. As promised, here is the first brief installment of posts chronicling my final year of school (I actually have 10 months left now but who's counting!)

Part of the final project is writing a systematic review. Since one of the principles of our program is evidence-based practice (EBP), our final project must be framed in the form of a PICO question. That is, Population, Intervention, Comparison, and Outcome. My group and I are still tweaking our question but it is centered on adults with type II diabetes. (Plus, I do need to maintain some level of suspense throughout these posts!) In order to gather the evidence, a comprehensive, systematic, and exhaustive search of the literature must be performed using key words and MeSH terms to narrow down the number of hits we get on our search. This is a critical part of any systematic review since the evidence gleaned will lay the groundwork for the review.

We are searching health/medical databases including Medline, CINHAL, & Cochrane. I grossly underestimated the amount of time this would take as we refined our key words and MeSH terms a few times - it's been about 4 weeks or so that we've been working on it. This process has been much more involved than say going to Google and typing in some search words. We were fortunate to have a group member very adept at searching and have taken advantage of the university librarian for additional tips. We are now confident that we are on the right track and are capturing the abstracts to read to determine if the article is applicable for inclusion in our review.

This searching resulted in 400+ abstracts to review. We have each individually read the abstracts and are meeting to discuss the ones we disagree on to determine whether we retrieve the actual article or not. We also need to search the " gray literature " for additional articles that weren't published in peer-reviewed journals to see if any other evidence exists. We will then enter them into the Joanna Briggs Institute software for tracking and as a way to get started on the actual write up. Next, we will critically review the article to see if it makes the cut for inclusion into our systematic review. (Note: this is a lot of reading - so much for being off the summer!)

I am excited to see what the evidence suggests regarding our focused topic. While all this is going on, in the Fall, we hope to implement the intervention at the clinical agency we are partnered with and are calling that "a small test of change" (STOC). Lots of work ahead but there is definitely a small light at the end of the tunnel (did I mention that I will be done in 10 months?)

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