All posts by Vicki Ruppe

I am mother of 5, and a nurse. I work for a company who provides care to special needs children and I work part time in an emergency department. I had 14 years of labor and delivery experience and enjoyed that very much but felt like I needed to remove myself from a specialty and work towards something bigger. I'm enjoying this ride so far and look forward to this journey.

Leadership Challenges, strategies, and hiccups

My weekly blogs finished last week.  This week was the final measurements and post-participation surveys.  I only had approximately 20 of the 27 participants finalize the surveys but I feel like that was decent number.  My biggest leadership challenge has been the fact that the project site is almost two hours from my clinic site.   There were no issues throughout the duration of the 8 week blog publishings other than some verbiage tweaking and a minor alteration in schedule but I definitely had to depend on the administrative assistant on campus to ensure that the blogs published on time and I was thankful to have my faculty content specialist available if necessary.

Strategies:  The activities were very specific to the location and were created to fit well into the participants’ work day.  There were many participants that came to the lunch and learns.  It was a very positive atmosphere and all who participated seemed to really enjoy the topics.  There were also classes held by wellness center which ran congruently with the 8 weekly blogs which helped keep the participants motivated.  (That wasn’t organized by me but instead spotlighted in support of this project.)

Hiccups:  The only hiccups were the schedule conflict with homecoming week but I feel like we adapted to it well and really didn’t see any negative side effects of that.  I wish there were more participants but I loved the project and even though the numbers weren’t very high, all who did participate all unanimously stated that it was a positive experience and some even offered that they were disappointed to see it end.  (I’d call that a success!)

Data Collection: Challenges, Triumphs, Initial Data



In this phase of my project, I don’t have all the data gathered yet.  The last measurement day is November 6 and I hope to collect all the rest of my data at that time. Since the data collection process requires voluntary participation, I am at the mercy of the participants reading the blogs and remembering to appear for the measurements.  My data is a very simple pre and post participation survey.  My biggest concern for the completion of this project is that the number of participants.  While the number of participants for the pre-participation survey wasn’t impressive, I’m even more concerned that the number of participants that will present for the post-participation will be even less.


  • The location of the lunch & learn activities required all participants to walk across campus to arrive at the location. They also had to plan ahead and bring their own lunches.
  • This time of year was super busy with activities outside of my program which conflicted with some of our plans and required that we even change dates of certain activities during homecoming week.


  • The participants that did sign up have been VERY invested and energetic.
  • Multiple participants were present at the lunch and learn activities
  • Lots of positive feedback from the participants thus far.

Initial data:

  • 27 participants:

Pre-participation survey:

Likert scale ratings from 1-10:

  1. I would rate my knowledge of physical activity as it relates to my health as:

Average rating: 6

  1. I would rate my knowledge of nutrition as it relates to my health as:

Average rating:  4

  1. I would rate my level of physical activity as it relates to my health as:

Average rating: 5

  1. Currently, I would rate my nutrition as it relates to my health as:

Average rating: 4


Initial Challenges and Adjustments

Initial challenges were the announcements weren’t posted as scheduled and considered to need to be more frequent.  As I mentioned in a previous posting, we adjusted the announcements to run daily and then approved flyers through the IRB.  The flyers were successful.  We had a good turnout for the first lunch and learn.  I know hind-sight, I wish there had been more time to have more interventions and possibly incorporate specific activities outside of learning.  My main goals are for the participants to feel as though they learned something they didn’t know about improving overall health.  I feel like the participants are already excited about participating and have a good grasp of the program.  The participants that keep coming to the on campus activities are a lot of fun and truly enjoy participating.  I have to be comfortable in the fact that the number of participants is fewer than expected but that at least those participating are learning tips to benefit overall health and achieve lifetime goals.  There’s not much I could adjust at this point of the project.  I definitely know the changes I would make to possibly help a future student with a similar project.  I would encourage them not to start at the beginning of the school year and begin during the spring semester instead.  I feel like participation would be greater during that timeframe.  Also I would encourage daily announcements instead of weekly blogs.

Project Implementation Check points

My project already launched.  I have attached here my approved scheduled along with some notes for myself to refer to to stay on task with communication.  After IRB approved everything, my project was pretty much complete for the planning and implementation phase.  The schedule of blogs was already written this summer and scheduled in collaboration with on campus events.  I’m pretty excited about this project and even though it hasn’t been the smoothest start, I feel like it’s going to benefit many people.  As far as checkpoints, I feel like my timeline is already set and appropriate.  I know that I am in constant communication with the administrative assistant and I touch base with the speakers in order to ensure that we all have open communication.  With the participants de-identified, I do not stay in touch with them but I hope to see them at the lunch and learn activities.  It’s been an exciting process.

August 28-September 16 Announcement/invitation to participate through
Tiger Daily
September 9 Sign up and measurement day on campus
September 11 Blog posted about Body measurements and Posting of Wellness Center Hours
September 16 Sign up and measurement day 2 on campus
September 16 Ensure all data is entered for pre-participation
September 17 Blog posted about physical activity and invitation for campus walk
September 17th Communication with Lunch and Learn Speaker & ensure flyers are posted to invite all participants to lunch and learn
September 25 Nutrition Blog
September 26 Lunch and Learn with Dr. McNeil
September 26 Communication with Lunch and Learn Speaker & post flyers
October 2 Blog about “get up and go”
October 3 Lunch and Learn- Drew Gannon
October 9 Blog about Steps
October 9 Communication with Lunch and Learn Speaker & post flyers
October 16 Cardiovascular Health Blog
October 17 Lunch and Learn- Cardiovascular-Mary Jo
October 23 Blog and invitation for preventative screening on campus
October 30 Blog about water intake benefits
November 6 End of blogs/measurement day
November 6 Data Comparison-Ensure all data is entered.

Initial Approach and Concerns

My DNP project involves an initial invitation sent via newsletter to all staff and faculty of FHSU.  The announcement has run for two weeks with little feedback for participation. The Tiger Daily newsletter has been inundated with information for the university being the first few weeks of school.  Many announcements for back to school activities have been printed in the same newsletter and the team believes that the lack of interest in my project thus far is due to the overwhelming of information to all staff and faculty concerning all back to school events.  My concern is that the participation rate will be too low to achieve accurate results for my project.

I conducted a project kick off meeting with many members of the team including the faculty content specialist and it was suggested that we increase the announcement frequency to daily and that we place flyers in key locations to coincide with announcing the activities throughout the wellness project.  After learning the IRB revision process (which took me a couple of days to get correct), the revisions were approved and the team notified of the approved schedule and flyers.

Another obstacle in these first few weeks was the fact that I had undergraduate students signed up to participate in measurement day 1 and all students were scheduled to be off campus at a facility tour for clinicals.  There were a handful of volunteers but not all time slots were committed.

One last obstacle for the project was that the day of measurements, it downpoured rain.  So the project was set up to encourage increasing physical activity and the participants had to try to decide if they were going to walk in the rain to weigh in or if they were going to struggle to find parking in the university parking lot.

It’s definitely been obstacles I hadn’t considered.  I have grown in my ability to follow up and to communicate with my team and I’m learning a lot about IRB.  It’s been a great learning experience so far.