Improving Nurses’ Attitudes, Beliefs, and Practices in Screening for Suicide Risk in Hospitalized Patients
Date of Publication
Brenda Hamel-Bissell Ed.D, RN & Prema Menon MD, Ph.D
Purpose: Forty-seven thousand Americans died from suicide in 2018. Providing nurses with facts about suicide, intervention methods, structured screening tools, and referral resources has been shown to change attitudes and increase screening rates. This quality improvement project provided nurses with education in order to improve rates of suicide screenings on in-patient units at a 550-bed academic medical center.
Methods: Attitudes to Suicide Prevention (ASP) surveys were administered on two medical units to determine current attitudes about suicide. An online tutorial providing information about suicide, the Columbia Suicide Severity Rating Scale (CSSRS) used by the institution, personal stories of suicide, and referral resources was used to deliver education. Education efficacy on attitude change was evaluated with pre and post surveys. Rates of risk assessments screens were reviewed in the electronic health records one month before and after the intervention.
Results: 155 nurses received surveys and intervention with 29 pre-surveys and 15 post surveys returned. No statistically significant changes in attitude, but a desire for education was found. Review of screening rates for one month before and after the intervention indicate a 7% increase in completion on the units receiving education compared to a 2% decrease on an aggregation of medical-surgical units not receiving education.
Conclusions: Providing education on suicide, screening tools, referral resources, and preparation for difficult conversations was demonstrated to increase screening rates. Providing an online learning module is an easy way to deliver education. Screening provided by trained and competent nurses ensures patients gain access to necessary mental health.
Gibbs, Karen, "Improving Nurses’ Attitudes, Beliefs, and Practices in Screening for Suicide Risk in Hospitalized Patients" (2020). College of Nursing and Health Sciences Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Project Publications. 46.