Date of Conferral



Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)




Dana D. Leach


In the United States, cigarette smoking is the main contributor to preventable death in all populations; and, among the mentally ill, the prevalence of smoking is a clinical practice concern. Nearly half of all smokers also have a diagnosis of mental illness compared with 23% of the general population. In an effort to reduce the problem of tobacco use within mentally ill populations, this project sought to create an educational module on smoking cessation for staff in a mental health clinic. The theory of planned behavior was used to guide the project that focused on implementation of a behavior change approach to counter smoking dependence. With evidence obtained from a comprehensive literature search of medical databases and textbooks, the education module was developed for teaching staff in a 30-bed outpatient mental health facility. Staff were taught to administer the education module on smoking cessation and to evaluate the plan. Evaluation of the project effectiveness on the knowledge of clinical staff was determined through the use of questions directed toward understanding professionals' perceptions of the module development and implementation, and the evidence-based educational materials developed for the program. Post tests administered after the staff education showed an increase in knowledge. The full education program was provided to the unit and will be used for staff training and for working with patients in the future. Positive social change is expected to occur because of the increased knowledge among clinical staff who care for mentally ill individuals who smoke. The result should be a safer, healthier setting for both smoking and nonsmoking patients in mental health clinics.

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