Getting Started

Facilitator Role

A project facilitator is someone who works at the project site and agrees to support the student and help to navigate the site’s system. In some programs, the student will be asked to identify a project facilitator at the agency’s site and give the name and contact information to the advisor. In some programs, the facilitator is assigned based upon the project focus.

Why become a DNP project facilitator?

We know the student benefits greatly from this experience as they learn the process of identifying a problem, seeking solutions, implementing a solution and evaluating its success. So you may wonder, what benefit will I and my organization receive? Primarily, you and your organization benefit from this experience as the student works to address problems you have identified that need intensive time and attention to resolve or improve. The staff and patients benefit from the resultant quality improvement and any education or process improvement that may be part of the project. In addition, we expect the student to experience scholarly development and we invite you to be part of this process as well, through participation in publications, poster or podium presentations that will be one of the possible outcomes of the project.

What does a facilitator do?

Role of DNP Project Facilitator: The project facilitator is someone who works at the project site and agrees to support the student and help to navigate the system. The facilitator is a key member of the DNP student project team. The facilitator:

  • Helps the student to navigate your organizational system
  • Supports the student to identify data to define a problem
  • Assists the student in selecting realistic goals and objectives
  • Provides oversight and support during the project planning and implementation phases of the project
  • Ensures that the personnel in your organization are aware of the student’s project
  • Provides input and feedback to the student and Rush faculty as needed
  • Assists student with ensuring projects sustainability in organization when appropriate

*If for some reason, after accepting this role responsibility, you cannot continue as the facilitator, please contact the student’s advisor/1st reader to discuss a replacement facilitator at the organization. The goal is to have a new facilitator identified before you need to step down.

Time Commitment

Each project is slightly different and evolves in a different manner thus it is hard to say exactly how much time it will take you as a project facilitator. The time involvement varies based on project focus, level of facilitator involvement required, scope of project and other factors. Commonly, the time involved ranges from 5-10 hours over the 15-week term. You will be invited to attend both the DNP proposal and DNP final presentations.

DNP project team (Student, Advisor/1st reader, Facilitator and 2nd reader)

Purpose of the Team:
The purpose of a project team is to support the student as they design and implement the DNP project. Project team members will communicate regularly with the student throughout the development of the project. The DNP project entails collaboration among the advisor, second reader, facilitator and student. It is important to remember that all DNP student project teams are not the same. Variations exist within and between tracks. In general, the roles described apply to all DNP projects.

Other Members of the DNP project team:
The Student: The student is the leader of the project team. The student works closely with the advisor/first reader and second reader as they identify ideas and develop, implement and evaluate the DNP project. It is important that the student take the initiative to communicate with the advisor/first reader regularly regarding the progress of project planning and implementation.

Academic Advisor/First Reader: For most DNP students, the academic advisor and the first reader are the same faculty member. Occasionally, a student will be assigned an advisor, but will work with a different faculty member for the DNP project. Overall, the academic advisor/first reader promotes the scholarly thinking and intellectual curiosity of the student. This is accomplished through ongoing feedback to the student from course faculty and the academic advisor/first reader. The advisor/first reader gives final approval of the DNP proposal, which must be obtained before the project is implemented. The advisor/first reader gives final approval of the final paper.

Second Reader: A second reader is assigned to every project and in collaboration with the advisor/first reader approves both the proposal and the final paper. The second reader may be a faculty member or may be a professional expert in the student’s content area. Students will send their proposal or final paper to the second reader as directed by the advisor/first reader. The second reader provides general feedback, identifies gaps, and poses questions, but will not edit the paper unless requested by the advisor/first reader.

Facilitator: The project facilitator is someone who works at the project site and agrees to support the student and help to navigate the system. See info in earlier section “What does a facilitator do”.