Date of Award


Scholarly Projects

Projects: SPU Access Only

Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)



Faculty Chair

Bethany Rolfe Witham

Faculty Reader

Rachel Query

Executive Summary

Background & Significance: Some novice nurse practitioners (NPs) feel less prepared to practice as primary care providers (PCP), burn out easily, and leave their first job after a short period of time (Barker & Pittman 2010; Staples & Sangster-Gormley, 2018). Many novice NPs choose to seek out postgraduate residency programs to acquire further training (Chen et al, 2016; Harper, McGuinness, & Johnson, 2017; MacKay, Glynn, McVey, & Rissmiller, 2018). Residency programs support the transition from novice to expert. NP residents vary in their age, clinical skills, maturity level, and the number of years in practice as registered nurses. These variations affect their learning style, level of motivation, and willingness to change their learning strategy. For this reason, a brief introduction to learning styles and adaptive learning strategies during residency is important.

Purpose Statement: The purpose of this project was to implement a program to promote adaptive learning strategies among NP residents through learning style assessment and education. By gaining awareness of their learning styles, NP residents can adopt flexible learning strategies when new clinical skills are being taught in a manner that does not match their preferred method of learning. This will allow NP residents to maximize the acquisition of clinical skills and knowledge.

Methods: The project utilized Jeff Hiatt’s Awareness, Desire, Knowledge, Ability, and Reinforcement (ADKAR) model to promote behavioral change. The residents received two presentations: one consisted of project explanation and learning style assessment, the other discussed their individual learning style results and flexible learning strategy recommendations. The learning style assessment used was Felder Soloman’s Index of Learning Style. Five months after the initial presentation, the residents were interviewed for feedback on the methodology, the project implementation, and its impact on the residents’ learning.

Results/Outcomes: There was a consensus among the NP residents that a formal self-assessment before the beginning of the residency program could enhance learning. Furthermore, many NP residents suggested that a dedicated time for weekly discussions regarding the results of their assessment should be incorporated into the training. Residents, however, believed that instead of learning style assessments, personality assessments would be more suitable because a majority of the residents already adopt flexible learning strategies. Some NP residents also felt that preceptors should also have a teaching style assessment to improve their precepting ability.

Sustainability: To promote sustainability, a prerecorded 20-minute video was created. This video introduces the purpose of the assessment, provides the NP residents with instructions on taking the Learning Style assessment and interpreting the results, and teaches the learning strategies recommended for each learning style. To provide learning style assessment and education to future NP residents, a link to this video will be sent to each resident as they begin the residency program.

Implications: This project can serve as a template for other training programs or in academia. Conducting a self-assessment prior to the beginning of a curriculum can facilitate the adoption of flexible learning strategies, self-awareness, and self-directed learning. These skills are important in order to stay up to date with the constant evolution inherent in medicine (Murad et al, 2010). Possessing a high level of self-awareness as primary care providers, NP residents can introspectively act in difficult clinical and personal situations, which can engender positive professional and interpersonal relationships.


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