Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Projects

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Degree Program

Doctor of Nursing Practice

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Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP)

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suicide prevention and awareness, suicide training, school


Gabrielle Abelard, DNP, PMHNP, PMHNP-CNS, RN, BS


Background: The numbers of youth at risk for attempting, contemplating, or completing suicide is a significant concern in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The Commonwealth has recognized the vital role that school personnel have in suicide prevention, yet training is not mandated due to a lack of funding. Though limited, evidence from the literature written to date has demonstrated improved outcome measures when suicide awareness and prevention training is implemented.

Purpose: This DNP project aimed to reduce the gap in practice by providing in-person suicide awareness and prevention education to nurses of a western Massachusetts school district.

Methods: A 60-minute suicide awareness and prevention presentation was developed and presented. Using a pre/post survey, participants’ previous experiences, knowledge and attitudes about suicide, as well as level of confidence in identifying and responding to youth at risk were assessed. Descriptive statistics were used to determine whether the intervention was successful.

Results: Seventeen school nurses attended the presentation. The results of the pre/post survey suggested an improvement in knowledge and attitudes about suicide, as well as an increase in level of confidence in identifying and interacting with youth at risk for suicide. School nurses also demonstrated more knowledge of resources for referral.

Conclusion: School personnel are in a unique position to identify and assist youth at risk for suicide and suicide prevention education is necessary in providing school personnel with the knowledge and skills needed to address this issue.

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