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Tools and Project Management

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Week 4: Tools and Project Management

How might project management lend itself to quality improvement in healthcare and nursing practice?


Project management is a systematic process used to achieve a specific goal utilizing a clear framework to initiate, plan, control, review, implement, and complete. This process provides for many checks and balances opportunities to ensure the goal is achieved and met following the guidelines outlined at the start of the project. Therefore, project management is useful to ensure quality improvement measures and methods are achieved following clear guidelines that address the scope and focus on an organization’s goal.

This week, you will consider the role of project management as it relates to a quality improvement practice gap. You will also continue your exploration of the importance of quality improvement methods and tools for nursing practice, as you complete your Assignment introduced in Week 3. As you consult this week’s Learning Resources, you will continue to consider the use of these tools in quality improvement and examine how these systems and methods could relate to your practice, organization, and overall experience in nursing practice.

Learning Objectives

Students will:


Analyze quality improvement practice gaps

Develop SMART objectives related to project management for a quality improvement practice gap

Justify project management approaches to support projects addressing a quality improvement practice gap

Analyze rate-based measures for nursing practice and healthcare delivery

Analyze measurement systems and methods for rate-based measures

Evaluate rate-based measure definitions, benchmarks, and comparisons related to organizational performance and metrics

Apply rate-based measures to an organization or clinical setting

Analyze the relationship between rate-based measures and organizational performance metrics for patient safety, healthcare quality, and cost of healthcare

Learning Resources

Required Readings (click to expand/reduce)


Required Media (click to expand/reduce)


Assignment 1: Applying Project Management Approaches for a Quality Improvement Practice Gap

Project management allows for a clear and focused workflow to approach an issue or task. These approaches streamline a process, allow for checks and balances, and ensure all stakeholders are active participants in the process. Project management approaches often utilize SMART objectives to define and set the objectives for the project.



Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto


Each letter of the acronym SMART defines a different criterion for the objective. A SMART objective is specific, measurable, assignable, realistic, and timely. These objectives help to steer the work and direct the stakeholders to the completion of the project.

For this Assignment, you will reflect on project management approaches that could be used to address a quality improvement practice gap. You will develop SMART objectives for the planning and execution of a quality improvement project, and will consider potential project management approaches or activities that could be used in executing this project.


To Prepare:

Review the Learning Resources for this week, and consider the approaches of project management.

Refer to the Week 3 Discussion, and reflect on the quality improvement practice gap you identified.

Consider how you might apply the project management approaches examined this week to address the quality improvement practice gap you identified.

Think about how you might develop SMART objectives for the planning and execution of a project to address the quality improvement practice gap you identified.

Consider any other project management approaches or activities you might recommend using for your project that will address the quality improvement practice gap you identified.

The Assignment: (2–3 pages)

Briefly describe the quality improvement practice gap you identified in your nursing practice or organization. Be specific.

Develop at least two SMART objectives you might apply in the project planning phase or execution phase to address the quality improvement practice gap you identified.

Recommend at least two project management activities you would use for your project, addressing the quality improvement practice gap you identified. Explain your justification for why these activities would provide the best support. Be specific and provide examples.

Reminder: The College of Nursing requires that all papers submitted include a title page, introduction, summary, and references. The Sample Paper provided at the Walden Writing Center provides an example of those required elements (available at All papers submitted must use this formatting.


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