Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice

Committee Chair

Dr. Evelyn Parrish

Clinical Mentor

Dr. Brandy Mathews

Committee Member

Dr. Chizimuzo Okoli


PURPOSE: The purpose of this DNP project was to assess the effect of a Behavioral Health Specialist (BHS) program on providers’ perceptions of mental illness, self-efficacy and satisfaction in the inpatient medical unit.

METHODS: This DNP project used a mixed-methods approach to obtain data, which included a pretest-posttest design, and key informant interviews. The survey data was obtained from provider responses to an email that was forwarded from managers of four targeted medical-surgical floors. A cover letter was included in the email which further provided information about key informant interviews and the contact information for the principle investigator to arrange a time for the interview. Each participant gave verbal and written consent prior to the recorded interviews.

RESULTS: From the 3-month to the 12-month time point provider stigmatizing attitudes towards behavioral health patients significantly declined from a total score of 58.7 (SD=8.2) to 38.4 (SD=10.6). There were also significant declines in provider self-efficacy towards caring for patients with behavioral health problems across the different assessment time points. However, satisfaction scores with the BHS were also increased among providers. The key informant interviews provided impressions the nurses had of the BHS.

CONCLUSION: Despite initial beliefs and previous evidence that a BHS could increase provider self-efficacy, there was a significant decrease in self-efficacy across all assessment times. However, negative attitudes towards patents with behavioral health issues decreased and satisfaction with the BHS increased among participants.