Date of Conferral
Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
Barbara A. Niedz
Diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death in the United States and is the main cause of chronic kidney failure, nontraumatic limb amputations, blindness, myocardial infarction, and stroke. Many patients with diabetes do not meet goals for at least 1 control measure of blood sugar, blood pressure, or cholesterol. The purpose of the project was to implement a template for documentation--a toolkit for patient care management-to improve blood glucose and blood pressure levels in a rural health clinic in central Texas for 33 patients with diabetes during a 6- to 8-week timeframe. The practice-focused question asked whether management of patients with diabetes would be improved if documentation on a standard template were used by all providers at the site. Models used in this doctoral project included the chronic care model and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement breakthrough series collaborative model. Sources of evidence included published outcomes and research from a systematic review of the literature, archival and operational data collected from the rural health clinic, and evidence from the project. Glycosalated hemoglobin levels improved from a mean of 8.9 mg to 7.6 mg in 31 of 33 participants (t = 2.684, 30 df, p = .012). Systolic and diastolic blood pressures were reduced slightly, but changes were not statistically significant. Potential implications for positive change in nursing practice include improvements in clinical management, implementation of evidence-based practice, and improved outcomes for patients with diabetes. Incorporating evidence-based practice provides scientific justification for actions that will improve clinical outcomes for patients, which leads to healthier patients, families, and communities and contributes to positive social change.