Date of Award

Fall 12-2012

Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

Committee Chair

Dr. Anita Davis Boykins

Committee Chair Department


Committee Member 2

Dr. Lachel Story

Committee Member 2 Department



The lack of continuous professional development education regarding second-generation antipsychotics (SGAs) at a regional state acute care psychiatric hospital limits the ability of psychiatric-mental health (PMH) staff nurses to provide care for patients with or at risk for metabolic syndrome and other medical problems. The goals of the evidence-based program were to (1) examine PMH staff nurses’ knowledge of treatment guidelines for schizophrenia and SGAs; (2) provide education on schizophrenia, SGAs, and metabolic syndrome; and (3) provide continuous professional development training modules on schizophrenia and SGAs electronically for PMH staff nurses in an acute care mental health hospital. The effectiveness of the evidence-based program was measured by pre and posttest to assess acute care PMH staff nurses’ knowledge of the intervention and by an evaluation of the presenter and presentation of the educational program. The participants (n = 10) for the continuing professional development (CPD) program were RNs (n = 5) and LPNs (n = 5). A statistically significant change was noted in the knowledge enhancement among the 10 PMH staff nurses after the implementation of the evidence-based educational intervention (t (9) = 5.395, p < .001). The project enhanced acute care PMH staff nurses’ knowledge to not only provide medication education to patients that are taking SGAs but also to monitor and care for patients with or at risk for metabolic syndrome associated with taking SGA medications. The psychiatric and mental health nurse practitioner (PMHNP) and Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) student assumed the role as leader in this practice change initiative in order to enhance the knowledge of staff nurses and improve patient outcomes. The educational module will be completed by all nurses online yearly and updated quarterly based on scientific evidence. The Capstone Project provided knowledge for closing the gap between PMH staff nurses and care of patients with a diagnosis of schizophrenia who are taking SGAs.