Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Projects

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Open Access

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Degree Program

Doctor of Nursing Practice

Degree Track

Family Nurse Practioner

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Month Degree Awarded



abuse, childhood, primary care, adverse childhood experiences, advanced practice nurse, child trauma


Karen Kalmakis

DNP Project Chair

Karen Kalmakis

DNP Project Member Name

Genevieve Chandler

DNP Project Outside Member Name

Wendy Sargent


Adverse childhood experiences (ACE) contribute to negative health outcomes. The impact of ACE is linked with physical, mental, and developmental disruption, increase in health-risk behaviors, and increased healthcare utilization. Approximately sixty percent of the US population reports a history of ACE. Despite this growing evidence that ACE is associated with health problems, primary care providers infrequently screen patients for ACE, nor do they consider the impact of ACE on health. The lack of routine screening for ACE in primary care represents lost opportunities to impact health outcomes and promote wellness. The overall goal of this project is to translate research to practice through screening for ACE in an adult primary care clinic. To accomplish this goal, brief interviews were conducted with 71 adult patients in a busy primary care clinic over a 4-week period. The ACE questionnaire, and a post-screening form were used to collect information about ACEs, patient responses, and follow-up recommendations. Descriptive statistics were used to calculate prevalence of ACEs, follow-up recommendations and patient responses to the screening intervention. Findings from the project demonstrated that high ACEs are associated with negative health outcomes and are linked with chronic health problems and increased healthcare utilization. Despite these associations very few patients were receiving counseling. ACE screening times took less time than anticipated and NP student interviewers felt comfortable and confident during the screening intervention. Findings support the need to screen for ACEs in primary care especially in patients with chronic disease.

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.