Date of Award

Spring 2021

Project Type

Clinical Doctorate

College or School



Department of Nursing

Program or Major

Doctorate of Nursing Practice

Degree Name


First Advisor

Joyce Cappiello

Second Advisor

Donna Pelletier


BACKGROUND: Almost 1 in 5 people have been diagnosed with a mental health illness but the supply of psychiatric providers does not meet patient’s needs. Multiple reasons contribute to this shortage and nurse practitioners are part of the solution. Even with nurse practitioners specializing in psychiatric mental health there is still a shortage. Primary care is where most patients first present their mental health issues.

METHODS: Literature review informed the development of the educational intervention presented to the primary care providers using a digital, asynchronous learning format. A gap analysis of organizational needs and weaknesses was used to determine the need for the quality improvement initiative. The content of the intervention focused on the basic psychiatric assessment and diagnosis of depression and anxiety in the primary care setting. A brief educational intervention was deployed in an effort to engage a voluntary participant group of 8 primary care providers with a desire to meet the needs of patients with mental health needs in the primary care setting.

INTERVENTION: Brief education on diagnosing and treating depression and anxiety in the primary care setting was deployed for the participant group using an asynchronous presentation. Pre- and post-surveys were conducted to detect any changes in knowledge and attitude towards treating depression in the primary care setting.

RESULTS: Data was analyzed using two statistical methods. The primary statistical method utilized observations of the data collected from the pre- and post-surveys. Twenty-two knowledge and attitude questions were analyzed and indicated statistical significance for 9 questions. The secondary statistical analysis method utilized the Wilcoxon sign rank test. It also yielded significance in the pre- and post-survey questions.

CONCLUSION: The quality improvement initiative demonstrated the ability to meet the identified aims. Statistical significance was noted for a number of survey items in both analysis methods. The small group size and collegial nature of the group may have affected the survey results. The participants showed great enthusiasm for the project due to ongoing participation and no loss of participants during the intervention.