DNP Student Projects

2018 DNP Recipients:

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LindsayKristen Smith-Yawea


Title: Implementation of a Brief Childhood Trauma Screening Tool and Trauma-Informed Care Staff Development on Adult Inpatient Psychiatric Units

Abstract: Traumatic childhood experiences pose a significant societal issue with lasting effects. Victims of traumatic childhood experiences have disproportionately higher rates of mental illness, substance use disorders, and other chronic medical conditions.  A literature review regarding adverse childhood experiences and its interrelationship between mental health and substance use disorders was conducted.  The Adult Inpatient Psychiatric Units at the University of New Mexico Hospital (UNMH) were not screening for traumatic childhood experiences.  Key interviews were completed with the university psychiatric center’s management personnel to explore the necessity for a traumatic childhood experiences screening tool.  Moreover, nursing and advanced practice nursing staff training transpired surrounding the implementation of a chosen traumatic childhood experiences screening tool in determining the staff’s willingness and comfort before and after the staff training. Staff development concerning trauma-informed care interventions by assessing staff’s willingness and knowledge-base before and after the training was discussed as well.  The identified screening tool was recommended to screen for all inpatient admissions on the adult inpatient units of the university psychiatric center.

            The results of the DNP project demonstrated the nursing and advanced practice nursing staff on the Adult Inpatient Psychiatric Units at UNMH acquired an increase in knowledge regarding trauma-informed care interventions and ongoing readiness to offer these interventions when caring for their patients after participating in the trauma-informed care training.  These results further demonstrated the nursing and advanced practice nursing staff had an increase in level of comfort and willingness to screen for traumatic childhood experiences after the trauma-informed care training and piloting of the TSC-40 screening tool when comparing the pre and post-survey responses.  A future endeavor may entail presenting the TSC-40 screening tool to the Clinical Informatics Committee at UNMH to assess whether this screening tool can be integrated into the nursing charting of the electronic medical record.


LindsayLindsey Schweiger-Whalen


Title: Converging Cultures: Partnering in Affirmative & Inclusive Health Care for Members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Population

Abstract: Members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community suffer from disproportionate rates of physical and mental illness. This population experiences enhanced vulnerability to illness as a result of societal marginalization, known as minority stress (Meyer, 2003), which is compounded by insufficient LGBT education for health care professionals and stigmatizing experiences within medical institutions.

The 4-hour pilot workshop, “Converging Cultures,” was implemented among a sample of self-selected hospital employees and a convenience group of nursing students. The intention of the project was to develop LGBT cultural competence according to the five fundamental constructs of Campinha-Bacote’s (2002) theory, The Process of Cultural Competence in the Delivery of Health Care Services. A pretest-posttest design was used to capture data on effectiveness of the intervention. The GAP scale, a measure of LGBT-affirmative practice beliefs, and an objective Knowledge Quiz were administered before and directly following the training. The posttest included three open-ended questions to elicit self-reflection and development of cultural competence. Paired sample t-tests revealed significant improvement on the GAP and Knowledge Quiz with no significant differences found among demographic subgroups. Open-ended responses reflected the five constructs of Campinha-Bacote’s theory. Future educational efforts for sexual and gender minorities should strive to avoid inadvertent marginalization of LGBT people through integration of concepts with existing curricula and workplace training. 

RuthRuth Burkhart


Title: Health Care Reform in New Mexico: Threat or Opportunity for the Nurse Role in Community Health?

Abstract: The purpose of this Doctor of Nursing Practice project was to describe the need for DNP nurse leadership to advocate for a nurse generalist role in the reform of New Mexico’s health care system under ACA 2010. The framework for the project was the nurse role within the context of a national and global shift of health care focus to population health and social determinants of health, and an anticipated shift of reimbursement and workforce priority to primary prevention, where few roles for nurses currently exist.

The project laid a foundation for a nurse generalist role in community based systems of care, utilizing the Theory of Integral Nursing, based in Nightingale’s Environmental Theory, the Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International’s GAPFON (Global Advisory Panel on the Future of Nursing and Midwifery) support for United Nations Agenda 2030, and research demonstrating the value of the nurse in quality health care outcomes. Participation in state and regional health care reform initiatives, including advocacy for a nurse generalist role in the development and implementation of the New Mexico State Health System Innovation Plan (SHSIP), afforded project advocacy opportunities. The project sought to identify the risk to nursing and health care outcomes without a nurse generalist role in New Mexico’s reformed health care system, and the opportunity for nursing to re-imagine the nurse role in community based health care. The expected outcome of advocacy beyond the project is engagement of nurses in discussion and planning for a nurse generalist role in New Mexico’s community based systems of health care.