Document Type

DNP Project

Publication Date


Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice

Faculty Advisor

Kerry Milner, DNSc, RN

Practice Mentor

Claudine Cody, RN, BSN

Second Practice Mentor

Jason Bresky, RN, ASN, CCRN


Background and Significance: Specialty certification is an important method to demonstrate that nurses possess training, expert knowledge, and skill in a specialty field. The American Burn Association (ABA) and the Burn Nurse Competency Initiative (BNCI) developed 11 competencies that specify the training, expert knowledge, and skills that nurses require for all aspects of burn nursing practice. The ABA and Board of Certification of Emergency Nurses are in the process of developing a burn certification for nurses. They suggest that all burn units begin to adopt these competencies to ensure consistent and competent care.

Purpose: To adopt the ABA burn competencies in the Bridgeport Hospital Connecticut Burn Center (BH-CBC) and to develop and pilot a process for nurses to achieve these competencies. The specific aim is to improve burn nursing competency in the initial management and physiological support of burn patients.

Setting: The BH-CBC, a nine-bed adult inpatient unit, is the only burn center in Connecticut. The population consists of nurses who work in the BH-CBC.

Methods: The Iowa Model Revised was used to develop and pilot a process for nurses to achieve the ABA competencies. Education modules were created using the book, Total Burn Care (5th ed.). Pre-module and post-module knowledge assessments and self-perceived competency surveys for each module were administered using an online forum. Verbal and observed competency skills were verified using a skills competency checklist.

Outcome: A total of 12 nurses participated. All nurses obtained a score of 80% or higher on the post-module knowledge assessments. None of the nurses required a second attempt or one-on-one debriefing. All nurses completed the education program and achieved competency. All nurses demonstrated improved knowledge, with the mean knowledge score increasing from 74% ± 5.77 to 94% ±4.32 for initial management and 79%±13.33% to 94%±5.88% for physiological support. All nurses perceived improved competency for initial management and 92% (n=11) of nurses perceived improved competency for physiological support.

Discussion: Burn nurse competency can be achieved using education modules and a skills checklist. A nursing workforce that meets the ABA competencies will facilitate consistent and competent care for burn patients and may improve health outcomes.


A DNP project submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Nursing Practice, Sacred Heart University Davis & Henley College of Nursing.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.



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