DNP Graduate Bridges Project on Traumatic Brain Injury to Practice

Melani Bell didn’t leave her coursework in the classroom when she graduated from Chamberlain’s Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program this year. Her final project, which focused on traumatic brain injury (TBI), has opened new doors for her in both the academic and professional worlds.

For her practicum, Bell focused on standardizing practice through policy development and designing a method to track patient progress through their customized treatment plans at an outpatient military TBI clinic. The standard operating procedure she developed was based on provider input from each discipline in the clinic, including the director. The patient tracker allowed users to determine admission dates, time it took to gain access to initial provider appointments, as well as determining if a provider was assigned, appointments that were implemented and appointments that were completed.

Bell was invited to present her project at the 12th World Congress on Brain Injury in New Orleans, as well as at Chamberlain’s Sigma Theta Tau International induction and commencement this year. Her abstract supplement was also published in the International Brain Injury Association’s journal in June 2017. 

Perhaps most exciting of all, Bell has accepted a new job with a premier government contractor as a Nurse Case Management Consultant, developing the case management policy and program. Her project continues to gain new life within this role.

“I recently took my poster from the IBIA presentation into work to show them how the policy and tracking tool would translate to my role,” she said. “They were grateful and impressed, so kudos to Chamberlain educators for ensuring continued success of all DNP students through project development!”

Bell credits earning her DNP, as well as her background in case management, for helping her secure this professionally-fulfilling role that puts her on a path towards her ultimate goal – to work with the White House in healthcare policy and leadership.

“A DNP degree has allowed me ‘a seat at the table,’” she said. “I have a voice amongst a group of subject matter experts both in clinical and non-clinical settings that include senior leadership in the federal government, federal contractors, hospital administrators and senior military leaders. This new experience allows me to proudly represent the nursing profession and articulate the importance of nurses participating in healthcare decision-making.”

The decision to attend Chamberlain for her DNP was easy for Bell, who is also a graduate of the university’s RN to BSN Online Option and Master of Science in Nursing program in the Healthcare Policy track.

“I knew that Chamberlain educators were subject matter experts in their respective fields, who are actively involved in ‘real-time’ nursing practice,” she said. “The educators, along with the entire Chamberlain administration and admissions team, had my best interest at heart, ensuring that I completed the DNP journey successfully.”

The ability to translate education into practice through the DNP project was especially rewarding for Bell.

“The rigorous, well-rounded curriculum in both the MSN and DNP programs at Chamberlain helped me to prepare for my current role – specifically the practicum courses as they were a quasi ‘hands-on’ approach working with experts in my area of interest,” she said. “The education and experiences gained at Chamberlain will allow me to continue developing and leading healthcare programs and initiatives that translate evidence-based research into establishing best practices and improving healthcare outcomes of vulnerable populations.”  

Learn more about Chamberlain’s DNP program.

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