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Critically Appraised Topic (CAT) Series, School of Nursing

Critically Appraised Topic (CAT) Series, School of Nursing


The objective of the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program at George Mason University is to prepare graduates for the highest level of nursing practice. Emphasis is placed on evaluating and applying the evidence that supports practice, understanding and creating practice delivery systems based on patient outcomes, and assuming leadership roles in practice settings. Graduates of the program will be able to assume many roles in the health care system, including direct patient care, clinical nursing faculty, practice management, and policy development.

All DNP students take an evidence-based practice course titled Evidence Based Practice in Nursing and Healthcare (NURS 883). This hallmark course for the DNP program builds on knowledge of research methodologies to analyze the selection and evaluation of research underlying evidence based practice. Emphasis is placed on the translation of research in practice, the evaluation of practice and the improvement of the reliability of health care practice and outcomes.

The first assignment students complete is a Critically Appraised Topic (CAT). CATs are mini-systematic reviews and considered a snapshot of the literature on a topic of interest. Students critically appraise literature related to a focused clinical question and summarize the best available research evidence on the topic of interest. CATs conclude with clinical bottom lines for practitioners to quickly take away for consideration in practice.

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