Year of Publication

2022

Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice

Committee Chair

Dr. Evelyn Parrish

Clinical Mentor

Dr. Brandy Mathews

Committee Member

Dr. Chizimuzo Okoli

Abstract

Background: Stigma towards behavioral health patients by healthcare workers can create barriers to quality care for patients. Addressing these negative attitudes towards behavioral health patients can improve health outcomes and reduce healthcare costs. Current evidence-based practice for tackling stigmatizing attitudes include interventions to improve mental health education among healthcare providers to promote improved patient outcomes.

Purpose: The goal of this project was to enhance medical floor nurses' attitudes toward behavioral health patients by delivering a web-based educational intervention on recognition and management of behavioral health disorders. The aims of the project were to: 1.) Assess nurses' stigma toward behavioral health patients, 2.) Evaluate nurses' recognition of behavioral health disorders, and 3.) Examine nurses' attitudes, subjective norms, and perceived behavioral control and intentions to refer patients to the behavioral health specialists.

Methods: This project was a quasi-experimental pilot study with a one group pretest-posttest design to examine the effect of a web-based educational intervention. The setting for the project was UK HealthCare Good Samaritan Hospital in Lexington, Kentucky. Data collection for this project occurred through an email survey link that launched a web-based educational intervention to nurses at this hospital. Changes in knowledge, attitudes, subjective norms, perceived behavioral control, and intentions to refer to behavioral health specialists after the education intervention were then examined using paired sample t-tests.

Results: Thirty participants completed the initial survey. Post intervention analysis was based on ten participants who completed both the pretest and posttest surveys in their entirety. Though most of the categories showed improvement, the only statistically significant change post-education was an improvement in attitudes.

Conclusion: The findings from this project indicated a low level of stigma among nurses towards behavioral health patients on medical floors. Knowledge was high before and after the intervention, but attitudes improved. These results suggest that the intervention is beneficial for staff and their patients. These findings indicate utility in additional behavioral health services to staff and patients on medical floors to better navigate hospitalization.

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