Date of Graduation

Spring 5-20-2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)


School of Nursing and Health Professions




Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

First Advisor

Dr. Trinette Radasa

Second Advisor

Dr. Nancy Selix


Background: The purpose of this evidence-based change in practice is to increase the knowledge base of psychiatric providers in outpatient psychiatric settings, by educating clinicians regarding the significance of implementing a post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) screening tool during the initial evaluation of patients. This can help to identify patients with PTSD that may not have been identified on initial visit, and may otherwise go unrecognized or untreated for PTSD, without the inclusion of a PTSD screening tool.

Problem: Evidence suggests that PTSD is underreported and overlooked in most populations. However, there is no standardized practice surrounding the routine use of a PTSD screening tool to assist clinicians in diagnosing PTSD. When a PTSD screening tool is utilized, a PTSD diagnosis can be established with greater ease. Among most study populations, the prevalence of PTSD is substantial and requires treatment and intervention.

Methods: Databases such as CINAHL, PubMed, and Google Scholar were used to collate the most recent medical and psychiatric literature through 2009. A review of the literature regarding the application and use of PTSD screening tools to assess undiagnosed PTSD was evaluated.

Intervention: Educating clinicians about the importance of applying a screening tool to identify individuals with PTSD has become necessary. Two educational luncheons were provided to five psychiatric providers at a clinic in Pleasanton, CA. A pre- and post-Survey Monkey were provided to clinicians to assess utilization and necessity of PTSD screening tools. In addition, a toolkit containing current evidence-based interventions, treatments, support groups, and counseling was explained to providers and placed in practice for reference.

Results: There was a 60% increase in PTSD screening during initial patient assessment, a 40% increase in knowledge regarding PTSD screening, a 60% increase in the awareness of common PTSD screening tools, a 100% increase in providers feeling that they had been educated on validated/appropriate PTSD screening tools, and a 60% increase in providers feeling that they have access to resources to help those with a PTSD diagnosis.

Conclusion: Undetected and undiagnosed PTSD is common. Furthermore, treatment and intervention cannot be provided to those suffering from PTSD without a diagnosis. Evidence shows screening for PTSD can improve patient outcomes and overall quality of life, although further studies are needed to create a standardized screening tool to identify and treat individuals with PTSD.