Nursing DNP project prepares teens for independent care

When Elizabeth Minchau first started working as a nurse practitioner at the West Virginia University Student Health clinic, she noticed a concerning trend—many of the new college students didn’t know how to manage their health independently. Minchau, now a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) graduate at the WVU School of Nursing, sought to fix this issue.

Minchau began her DNP project, "Preparing Emerging Adults with Knowledge and Skills" (PEAKS), which aimed to transition students with type 1 diabetes from pediatric to adult care. PEAKS was established with the opening of the WVU Medicine Children’s Hospital, and it was the first formal transition program for young adults with diabetes at WVU Medicine.

Throughout the program development, the clinic's score improved from 12/32 to 31/32 on Got Transition's Current Assessment of Health Care Transition Activities Tool. Minchau was able to see the impact of the program in real-time: “Seeing the difference the PEAKS program is making in the lives of adolescents with Type 1 diabetes is priceless!”

The project was selected for a presentation at the National Organization of Nurse Practioner Faculties, where Minchau’s progress in the development of PEAKS will be highlighted. “I am honored to get to showcase my project at a conference geared towards best practice for NP and DNP student education," Minchau said. "I hope that it will demonstrate how much of a role DNP students can play in healthcare quality improvement initiatives.”

Her advice to other DNP students is simple, “For those on the DNP journey — dream big. Pick a passion project and make it happen. All the hard work is worth it!”

Today, PEAKS continues to help transition young adults into independently caring for their health conditions.



CONTACT: Wendy Holdren
Director of Communications and Marketing
WVU School of Nursing