“We had been talking about moles in one of my nursing classes, and I noticed one on me that did not look right. I had it checked out, and it was an early stage melanoma. At that age, I thought I was indestructible. That was not the case,” Jeff said.
This situation was the tipping point for what would become a passion for Jeff as a nurse – sun safety education.
Using sun safety as the inspiration for his final DNP project, Jeff began by completing a literature review. Based on the results, he chose to focus on the adolescent population because of the opportunity to reach them and make a change. Jeff then sought feedback from dermatologists and providers around adolescent sun safety education.
“When I asked primary care providers if they covered sun safety information with adolescents and parents, and if they did it well, the answer was pretty consistently, ‘no,’ or ‘I’d like to, but I am just too busy,’” Jeff said.
Jeff is now fully immersed in his final DNP project, “Sun Safety Education for Adolescent Patients.” His project will create continuing education modules for primary care providers to educate themselves on the subject. The modules aim to provide basic skin care precautions and safety tips and give providers information and tools to share with parents’ of adolescents on skin cancer, melanoma, and preventing skin damage. After creating and distributing the modules, Jeff will survey randomly selected providers to evaluate the modules and see what areas could be improved.
“This type of work is what is exciting to me. Using evidence-based practice makes sense; we can’t keep doing the same things over and over when new information is available. The DNP brings nurse practitioners to the table and allows us to shape practice and make waves in a positive way that will improve health care and health care delivery,” Jeff said.