Date of Graduation

Spring 5-14-2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)


School of Nursing and Health Professions




Population Health Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Robin Buccheri, PhD, RN, FAAN, Professor Emerita and Adjunct Faculty

Second Advisor

Dr. Elena Capella, EdD, MSN/MPA, RN, CNL, CPHQ, LNCC,


Section I: Abstract

Problem: Suicide is a major public health concern that kills over 45,000 people in the U.S every year. At a psychiatric hospital in Northern California, several suicide attempts occur every year.

Context: The aim of this DNP project was to train licensed nursing staff at a large safety net psychiatric hospital in Northern California on interventions and best practices in suicide prevention to improve suicide screening, assessment, and detection for an at-risk population.

Intervention: Interventions consisted of training on the appropriate use of (a) the organization’s Evidence-based Suicide Screening and Prevention Protocol and (b) an evidence-based suicide screening tool, the Columbia-Suicide Severity Rating Scale (C-SSRS), used to conduct suicide assessment levels, and risk detection.

Measures: An author-developed instrument was used for assessment of nurses’ knowledge, skills, and comfort level before and after training on the organization’s Evidence-based Suicide Screening and Prevention Protocol and use of the C-SSRS. Patients’ charts were audited after the training to check for accurate completion of the C-SSRS tool.

Results: Ninety-six percent of licensed nursing staff were trained on the use of the organization’s suicide screening and prevention protocol and the C-SSRS. Knowledge, comfort level, and skills for screening, assessing, intervening, and planning care for patients at–risk for suicide improved post-training.

Conclusions: Training of Licensed Nursing Staff on how to follow the organization’s Evidence-Based Suicide Screening and Prevention Protocol and use the C-SSRS was successful. Licensed nursing staff are prepared to provide successful suicide screening, assessment, detection and prevention, thus achieving better patient outcomes.

Keywords: Suicide prevention, interventions, and suicide in adults.

Included in

Nursing Commons