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Evaluation is a key component to project management. Evaluation allows measurement of the success and efficiency of the project (Roussel et al., 2016). The purpose of this paper is to identify and discuss the framework planned for use to evaluate the doctorate of nursing practice (DNP) project. This DNP project will focus on preceptors. The question is: Does precepting in a dedicated education unit or as a dedicated student instructor improve the preceptors’ sense of professional practice as compared to nurses who do not precept? An additional aim of this paper is to discuss the evaluation tools, financial considerations, data collection, data analysis, and objectives of the project.

Model for Evaluation

There are several well-known models for evaluation. The models include the discrepancy model, goal-free model, transaction model, decision-making model, and the goal- based model. These models all vary in data collection methods, philosophy, and approach.

Project or program planners need to know the purpose of evaluation to choose the appropriate model. Choosing the appropriate model allows for dissemination of the results of the program to the stakeholders (Boulmetis & Dutwin, 2011).

The discrepancy model operates on the premise that programs are not independent of the organization and focus on the why and not the cause-effect relationship. Focus of the goal-free model is on evaluating the entire program and not predetermined goals. The goal-free model is thought to be difficult to use since there is not a specific focused identified at the onset. The transaction model focuses a continuous back and forth interactions between the evaluator and staff. The decision-making model focuses on using the information to make decisions about future use of the project or program. The focus of the goal-based model is on stated-objectives or goals, is easy to use, and is most like the research methods (Boulmetis & Dutwin, 2011).

The DNP project planned is to identify if acting as a preceptor in a dedicated educated unit (DEU) or as a dedicated student instructor (DSI) improves the professional practice of the nurse preceptor compared to those that do not precept. Choosing the appropriate model to evaluate this project is important to success and sustainability. Evaluating the purpose of the project and looking at the aims of the project based on the needs assessment will provide insight into which evaluation model is best suited for this project.

The transaction model would not be beneficial, as the project does not lend itself to back and forth interactions over a long period and would not provide the necessary data for the stakeholders. The goal-free model, while it may provide interesting information, would be difficult to implement. The goals and the objectives of the project need to be outlined so the stakeholders will have buy-in for the project. Without the goals, the project is not likely to be implemented or supported. The discrepancy model, which would provide the unique perspective of why is not aligned with the purpose for the project. Looking at why may be an appropriate method for future evaluation of the preceptors but for this project the focus is on specific goals. The decision-making model could be useful for future projects as well. If the project does identify that the act of precepting improves professional practice then the decision-making model could be used on future projects to make decisions about how, when and where to implement precepting.

The most appropriate program evaluation model for this project is the goal-based model. The goal of the project is to determine if that act of precepting improves professional practice, which could lead to improved retention of nurses as well as increased numbers of preceptors.

Evaluating this project using the goal-based model will provide the necessary information to provide to the stakeholders. Stakeholders such as the nurses, unit managers, hospital administration, college administration, and nursing faculty will value the information, especially if it provides them with information to support the act of precepting. It will increase buy in and increase the likelihood of nurses wanting to participate. It can facilitate the development of the collaborative partnership between the hospital and the college of nursing.

Objectives to Evaluate

Evaluation of several objectives will be necessary to determine the effectiveness of preceptors working with students in a DEU or as a DSI. There is little known about the impact of precepting on the preceptor, most information is focused on the impact on the student. The overall objective is to determine the benefits of precepting to the preceptor. To determine the benefits, eight components of the professional practice environment will be evaluated. The eight components include leadership and autonomy in clinical practice, staff relationships with physicians, control over practice, communication about patients, teamwork, handling disagreement and conflict, internal work motivation, and cultural sensitivity (Erickson et al., 2009). All eight of these components could be considered objectives and provide useful data to determine effectiveness of nurses’ precepting in a DEU or DSI on their professional practice.

Financial Aspect

Evaluation of the financial aspect of the project is important for determining effectiveness and sustainability of the project. Stakeholders will want to see evidence that the project is value based. According to Roussel et al. “value= quality/cost” (2016, p. 152) To evaluate the value of the project regarding preceptors and improvement of the professional practice one needs to look at the benefits of precepting to the preceptor and the impact it could have on retention of nurses.

Nursing turnover and the ability to prepare nursing students to enter the workforce are a big factor affecting the nursing shortage. The projected nursing shortage can have a huge impact on salaries and over-time expenses of facilities. The profession is projected to experience a significant shortage of approximately half a million nurses in the future (American Association of Colleges of Nursing [AACN], 2017). Work to reduce the shortage by increasing nursing student admission and entrance into the workforce is crucial to correct the situation. Increasing the amount of students increases the need for preceptors. The project above may provide evidence that would encourage nurses to act as preceptors. This would facilitate placement for students and affect the nursing shortage by preventing qualified students from being turned down for admission due to clinical placement issues.

In 2016 it was found that the cost of turnover for a registered nurse ranges from $37,700 to $58,400 which can cause hospitals to lose $5.2 million to $8.1 million annually (Nursing Solutions Inc. [NSI], 2016). This is significant to the value of a project that would improve nurse satisfaction and reduce turnover. The financial aspect of this project is still being developed but as it stands this will be a low cost project to initiate but could provide a great deal of cost benefits and loss reduction. Providing stakeholders with this information could promote buy-in and participation.

Evaluation Tools

The evaluation tool for this project is the Revised Professional Practice Environment (RPPE) Scale (see Appendix A). This tool is a 39-point survey used to measure the eight components of the professional practice environment. This tool is a valid and reliable tool for evaluating the professional practice environment. The operational definitions of the eight components are important for evaluation and are included in the scoring directions (see Appendix B for definitions). Additional evaluation tools, which need developed for the overall evaluation of the project will include the budget and projected cost benefits.


Data collection will occur as a pre-survey using the RPPE scale (see Appendix A). The pre-survey will be sent by email to all nurses on the DEU. Nurses will then volunteer to be preceptors to students in this unit. The nurses that acted as preceptors will complete the RPPE scale as a post-survey after completing the precepting experience. The data will be analyzed by using a two sample independent t-test. Cronbach’s alpha could be used to determine reliability of data. Jones and Hendricks (2017) conducted a similar study to evaluate enhancement of professional development of nurse preceptors in a DEU using the RPPE scale. The planned methodology and statistical analysis of this project will be based on the study by Jones and Hendricks (2017). Comparing the data will allow for determination of the objectives being met or not. Additional data collection will include the turnover and retention rates of the staff nurses and the number of preceptors available to the college. Utilizing the data and the results of the information obtained allows for the use of the goal-based evaluation model to determine the effectiveness and value of the project.

Evidence-Based Practice

Currently there is a gap in the literature concerning nurse preceptors and the affect that precepting has on the nurses practice. The proposed project could provide a piece of evidence toward that gap. This evidence could help promote precepting among nurses.

As evidence suggests the nursing profession is facing a widespread shortage. An astounding number of students that are denied admission into nursing programs is affecting this shortage (AACN, 2017). The literature also suggests high job dissatisfaction for current nurses and the impact that is has on patient outcomes. High dissatisfaction can also affect nursing turnover further compounding the shortage (McHugh et al., 2011). The nursing profession needs solutions to increase satisfaction and increase the number of preceptors available to students and new nurses. The proposed DNP project could provide evidence to support using nurses as preceptors to improve their professional practice, which could reduce turnover and nurse dissatisfaction.


In conclusion, evaluation of the project is an important component of project management and necessary to ensure stakeholder buy-in and sustainability. It is important to evaluate the project or program as a whole. Using the appropriate evaluation model for the project will facilitate the project or program manager in obtaining the data necessary for effective evaluation of the program. For this DNP project, the goal-based method is the framework that will allow for evaluation of the benefits and value of precepting for preceptors. This information will help determine the value and effectiveness of the project.


American Association of Colleges of Nursing. (2017). Fact sheet: Nursing shortage. Retrieved from

Boulmetis, J., & Dutwin, P. (2011). The ABCs of evaluation: Timeless techniques for program and project managers (3rd ed.). Retrieved from

Erickson, J. I., Duffy, M. E., Ditomassi, M., & Jones, D. (2009, May). Psychometric evaluation of the revised professional practice environment (RPPE) scale. The Journal of Nursing Administration, 39(5), 236-243.

Jones, E. A., Simpson, V., & Hendricks, S. (2017). Enhancement of professional development of front-line nurse preceptors in a dedicated education unit. Journal of Continuing Education in Nursing, 48(1), 40-46.

McHugh, M. D., Kutney-Lee, A., Cimiotti, J. P., Sloane, D. M., & Aiken, L. H. (2011). Nurses’ widespread job dissatisfaction, burnout, and frustration with health benefits signal problems with patient care. Health Affairs (Project Hope), 30(2), 202-210.

Nursing Solutions Inc. (2016). 2016 National healthcare retention & RN staffing report.

Retrieved from

Roussel, L., Polancich, S., & Beene, M. S. (2016). Using findings from the clinical needs assessment to develop, implement, and manage sustainable projects. In J. L. Harrris, L. Roussel, C. Dearman, & P. L. Thomas (Eds.), Project planning and management: A guide for nurses and interprofessional teams (2nd ed., pp. 143-169). Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.


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Assignment/ Project Evaluation Guidelines:

Construct a framework for the evaluation of your project. Identify and describe the type of model selected for evaluation: discrepancy, goal-free, transaction, goal-based or decision-making model. Discuss why this model was chosen. You will then develop the tool(s) to be used to evaluate if the objective/goals, the financial aspect of the project and how the data collected will be analyzed.



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Must USE Attached Articles, in Addition to Extra Outside Resources to Complete Assignment.

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