DNP Student Project Will Help Red Cross Onboard Volunteers Faster


Kathleen Adams DNPAs part of her doctoral project, Katie Adams, a graduate student in TCU’s doctor of nursing practice program and family nurse practitioner program, is streamlining the onboarding process for volunteers of the Red Cross’ Virtual Disaster Health Services — helping to get boots on the ground more quickly.

“My hope for this project is to get new Virtual DHS volunteers onboarded faster in order to help the clients in need at the Red Cross,” said Adams, who earned her Bachelor of Science in nursing from the University of Michigan before beginning work on her DNP at TCU (her husband is a Horned Frog).

To better understand the needs of Virtual DHS volunteers and find potential areas for improvement, Adams first went through the onboarding process herself. She then began creating toolkits to be used by new volunteers to create a smoother onboarding process.

“It took about six months for me to finish all of the training. By month four, I thought I had completed everything, but I was sent more online modules to complete,” Adams said. “For the new volunteer, I want them to have and understand all of their trainings and resources in place, to hopefully expedite the process.”

Adams began the project in February 2021 and plans to have it completed and uploaded to the Red Cross Volunteer Connection Website by April 2022. She graduates in May with her doctor of nursing practice and family nurse practitioner.

“When I first started thinking about what my DNP project would be, I thought it had to be a huge, grandiose project that would completely change a process,” she said. “But I realized there are some processes that just need updating or improving. The onboarding process was already successful at preparing new volunteers, but with some additional toolkits, my project would make a great change.”

Her project also will provide new support for current volunteers.

“I created a tool that encompasses resources for clients in each of the Red Cross’ North Texas territories,” Adams said. “The resources are for free or low-cost needs that a client may face after a disaster, including mental health, dental and vision services, medications, food banks, clothing and hearing aids.”

Vicki Brooks, assistant professor of professional practice nursing and coordinator of the FNP program, connected Adams with the Red Cross.

“The DNP project is intended to engage the doctoral student in translating evidence into practice by impacting nursing practice through a substantive scholarly work,” Brooks said. “The project serves as a springboard for future scholarly work and impact on the nursing profession.”