Date of Conferral



Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)




Joanne Minnick


Anxiety and depression are common mood disorders in cancer patients, regardless of mental state prior to diagnosis. A gap in the education of oncology nurses in an eastern Caribbean island was discovered regarding their ability to identify anxiety and depression symptoms and to help patients who suffered from these disorders. The purpose of this project was to improve oncology nurses' assessment skills by reviewing appropriate use of the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) tool and familiarizing nurses with resources to help patients who score high on the HADS. The Levine conservation model was the theoretical framework for this project. The research question addressed whether a staff education module regarding the use of the HADS tool would improve staff knowledge about screening cancer patients for mood disorders in a clinic setting. This project involved a staff education module with a pretest/posttest assessment and evaluation of the responses and levels of improvement. A total of 10 oncology nurses with varying academic degrees and years of experience participated in the project. The pretest showed that many had inadequate knowledge of the HADS tool. Based on posteducation assessment scores, all participants understood how to use the tool to screen for mood disorders. The implication of this study for positive social change is that oncology nurses will be able to use a screening tool to identify undiagnosed anxiety and depression symptoms in cancer patients and provide patients with appropriate resources.

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