Date of Award

Spring 5-11-2018

Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

Committee Chair

Dr. Anita Boykins

Committee Chair Department


Committee Member 2

Dr. Carolyn Coleman

Committee Member 2 Department


Committee Member 3

Dr. Abby McNeil

Committee Member 3 Department


Committee Member 4

Dr. Kathy Crockett



Individuals aged 18 or older who suffer from a serious mental illness (SMI) often have coexisting chronic physical health problems such as diabetes, hypertension, obesity, and cardiovascular disease. Multiple providers in various settings provide care for individuals with co-morbid SMI and physical health problems. Early, effective and efficient screening leads to successful treatment and management of patients with both SMI and chronic physical health complications. The purpose of this DNP project was to develop and implement an evidence-based integrated screening protocol for adult males (18 and over) diagnosed with SMI and co-morbid physical health problems who presented for care in a community based mental health center. A practice protocol was developed and implemented as a key part of the community-based mental health center clinical pathway. The protocol focused on comprehensive care management and care coordination for health and clinical services to include early screening and referrals. Two registered nurses screened 35 adult males with a SMI diagnosis for physical health complications. The mean age for the individuals screened was 41.88 years; 40% (14) were smokers; 23% (8) had elevated glucose levels; 20% (7) had hypertension; and 17% (6) were obese. No referrals to a primary care provider were completed. The evidence-based screening protocol for identifying physical health problems in individuals with SMI was effective. The development of the protocol improved quality of care delivery through screening, to identify individuals who would necessitate a referral to a primary care provider.