Date of Conferral



Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)




Diane Whitehead


Suicide is a major health concern worldwide. Nurse practitioners must possess suicide assessment skills and treatment knowledge to ensure appropriate identification of persons with suicidal ideation. The purpose of this project was to assess psychiatric nurse practitioners' knowledge of suicide prevention in rural Kentucky. The conceptual framework was Orlando's nursing process theory, which emphasizes the importance of nurse-patient interaction. A 13-item survey of suicide-related knowledge and skills was administered to 10 psychiatric nurse practitioners in rural Kentucky. Only 3 participants responded correctly to a question related to suicidality in persons with borderline personality disorder. Regarding competency and support for assessing suicide, 100% of participants reported that they were comfortable asking direct and open-ended questions regarding suicide. Nine of the 10 respondents assessed their knowledge and skills as sufficient to engage effectively with patients contemplating suicide, which indicates that psychiatric nurse practitioners may overestimate their ability to identify and treat persons with suicidal ideation. Healthcare providers in all specialties can benefit from this project by improving competencies and guiding continuing education to bridge any gaps in knowledge for adequately assessing suicide. Further education is needed for psychiatric nurse practitioners to promote positive social change for suicidal persons, their families, and their communities.