Date of Graduation

Spring 5-15-2014

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)



First Advisor

Dr. Amy Nichols

Second Advisor

Dr. Ruth Rosenblum

Third Advisor

Dr. Daryl Canham


The Surgeon General (2000) estimates that up to 13% of children experience symptoms of anxiety. Since virtually all children attend school, and this environment challenges children in various modalities that are likely to produce anxiety, schools are an excellent environment to detect early signs and symptoms of anxiety. When available, school nurses are well positioned to provide primary and secondary prevention to students identified with signs and symptoms of anxiety.

The aim of this project is to identify if increasing teacher’s knowledge results in and increased ability to recognize early signs and symptoms of anxiety, and report concerns more rapidly, reducing the time between recognizing anxiety in a student and the ability to provide helpful intervention. This paper describes a collaborative effort utilizing administrators and the entire faculty as key players in the detection of mental health concerns, with the goal of reducing the time between recognizing anxiety in a student and the ability to provide intervention.

The project educated school faculty via a presentation that included a question and answer session that covered: (a) signs and symptoms of anxiety as they may present in the classroom; (b) a decision tree to help non-clinicians decide how and when to intervene; and (c) a positive Coping and Adaptation Strategies handout designed for teachers to use in the classroom. The project showed: (a) positive trends in teacher’s recognition of anxiety signs and symptoms, (b) application of positive coping and adaptation strategies within the classroom setting, which were not utilized prior to this project, and (c) overall increased comfort with identifying and intervening with positive coping and adaptation strategies.