A Descriptive Survey of Advanced Practice Registered Nurses' Preparedness for Treating Geriatric Depression
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThe purpose of this DNP project was to identify family and psychiatric mental health advanced practice registered nurses’ (APRNs) self-rated competence, confidence, experience, and training in the treatment of geriatric depression. The population of older adults in the United States is growing rapidly, and it is becoming increasingly important for health care providers to have a thorough understanding of common mental health disorders. Depression is a commonly misdiagnosed and undertreated mental illness in older adults, and can result in increased morbidity, mortality, and suicide. Diagnosis and treatment of geriatric depression is complicated by polypharmacy, age-related physical changes, and comorbidities. Due to the complexities of this older population, it is critical to have well-trained APRN providers to provide high quality care. This study used a newly developed survey that was distributed to practicing APRN members of the Southern Arizona Advanced Practice Nurse/Nurse Practitioner Society (SAZAPN/NPS). Clinical experts (n=6) reviewed the survey questions for content validity before it was distributed. The participants (n=32) answered 16 questions about their competence, confidence, experience, and training with geriatric depression. A descriptive analysis of the data was performed to describe APRN’s responses in each of these four domains. The findings from this study show that the majority of the participants (82%) agree and strongly agree that they are competent in assessing geriatric depression. Over three-fourths (76%) report feeling confident in their ability to accurately diagnose and treat geriatric patients with depression. While just over 70% of the APRNs in this study report they feel confident prescribing antidepressants for geriatric patients, and 65% report feeling confident in psychiatric assessments, only 51% of the respondents agreed that they had adequate training to care for geriatric patients. Organization-offered trainings in geriatric depression were available to 21% of the participants, and 78% agreed they could have used more education and training to help them understand the link between physical and mental health in older adults. While most participants in this survey feel confident and competent, there is still a need to enhance education and training opportunities to better prepare them to provide high quality care for a complex population.
Degree ProgramGraduate College