Date of Conferral



Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)




Anne Vitale


As healthcare continues to face scrutiny related to the cost and quality of patient care, organizations are challenged with providing the right care to patients in the right setting. Some healthcare organizations are implementing observation units to provide appropriate care to a specific subset of patients. The purpose of this project was to develop education for nursing staff who will work on the dedicated observation unit and are unfamiliar with the care requirements. Benner's novice-to-expert theory was used as the framework for the project. This theorist posits that nurses transitioning to a new area require new knowledge and skills to help guide their practice. The education program was based on available evidence, including peer-reviewed journals, consensus white papers, evidence-based studies, and expert opinion. The evidence was organized and analyzed using the Johns Hopkins nursing evidence-based practice model. An educational product for staff members new to an observation unit was developed and shared with stakeholders, including professional development staff, hospital administration, nurse managers, and nursing staff for questions and feedback; feedback was incorporated into the final product. The recommendation is for the education to be incorporated into the orientation for nurses who will work on an observation unit. The project holds significance for the field of nursing practice as it may support the educational needs of nursing staff working on an observation unit in the local setting as well as other acute care setting and benefits hospitals and patients by leading to improved patient care and nurse retention. The project can foster positive social change by improving practice at the local level and on a broader level if other organizations use the education.