Date of Graduation

Spring 5-19-2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)


School of Nursing and Health Professions




Family Nurse Practitioner

First Advisor

Dr. Jo Loomis

Second Advisor

Dr. Robin Buccheri


Background: Healthcare workers are 4 times more likely to be exposed to workplace violence than workers employed in private industry, with assault rates as high as 7.8 per 10,000 workers. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health defines workplace violence as “violent acts, including physical assaults, and or threats of assault, directed toward persons at work or on duty” (OSHA, 2015, p. 2). Verbal de-escalation techniques that assist with care of the agitated patient are not routinely taught to Family Nurse Practitioners (FNPs) throughout their years of advanced coursework, yet it is something they are likely to encounter given the research highlighting the disturbing assault rates against healthcare providers. Methods: In an effort to improve the delivery of patient centered care and enhance the safety of FNPs in the outpatient setting, a verbal de-escalation educational module and live in-person simulation training was created to serve as a resource to guide the behavioral management of an agitated patient. The aim of this evidence-based project was to provide practicing FNP clinicians and FNP students with training in verbal de-escalation techniques designed to promote workplace safety, reduce rates of violence against providers, and ultimately enhance provider comfort and satisfaction when working with an agitated patient. Results: A total of 14 participants, 10 FNP students and 4 FNP clinicians, participated in the educational intervention outlined by this project. Data analysis demonstrated a dramatic increase (117%) in the participant’s confidence in their ability to implement verbal de-escalation techniques following the educational intervention. Conclusions: Overall, this project was a cost effective way to supplement knowledge and experience with evidence-based interventions aimed to assist the FNP with successful verbal de-escalation of an agitated patient.