Date of Award

Spring 2022

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)


Leadership and Advanced Nursing Practice

Committee Chair

Dr. Carolyn Coleman

Committee Chair School

Leadership and Advanced Nursing Practice

Committee Member 2

Dr. Marti Jordan

Committee Member 2 School

Leadership and Advanced Nursing Practice


Depression is one of the most common health concerns for Veterans which commonly occur after traumatic events. The COVID-19 pandemic is a known fact to impact the Veteran population significantly increasing mental health crisis. Hester (2017) implies the Veterans Administration (VA) has been criticized for not developing procedures for routine mental health screenings and early interventions for all service members before they return to civilian life. A plan of intervention based on these signs could be the first step for a crisis intervention team to provide needed assistance and conduct a psychiatric evaluation for Veterans utilizing the VA healthcare system to ensure they get the help that is needed.

The goal of this Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) project was to identify the need for depression screening on Veterans who present to the COVID-19 Triage Clinic and assess the knowledge deficit of frontline staff regarding depression and severity of symptoms. This project demonstrated best practices, quality improvement for depression screening in Veterans who presented to the COVID-19 Triage Clinic. The need for a standardized depression screening and implementation of PHQ-2 and PHQ-9 as a depression screening tool was identified by the DNP project.

This DNP proposal formulated a clinical question using the Population/ Patient Problem, Intervention, Comparison, Outcome, Time (PICOT) format for Veterans seeking care in the COVID-19 triage clinic. (P), For Veterans seeking care in a walk-in COVID-19 triage clinic at Veteran Administration Medical Center (VAMC), how does (I), implementing screening for depression, compared to (C), no screening for depression of Veterans (O) improve timely access to mental health care in depressed patients (T) during 4 weeks. Regardless of the presenting complaints, the DNP proposal showed the persistent critical need to screen Veterans for depression in the clinical setting. Also, clinical staff must be educated and trained on the benefits of PHQ-2, PHQ-9 depression screening tools to accurately assess Veterans in crisis and refer them to Mental Health Services promptly to meet the desired need.