Date of Conferral



Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)




Catherine Garner


Internalized stigma experienced by people living with HIV (PLWH) has been associated with numerous untoward health outcomes. Nurses' and healthcare professionals’ ability to effectively communicate can significantly affect the experience of stigma in PLWH. The practice-focused question was whether an interactive educational project could improve the knowledge and intent to use collective communication skills in nurses. This project uses concepts from Peplau's interpersonal relationship theory, principles of therapeutic communication, and unconscious bias. Online training content included patient testimonials related to stigma, discussions of unconscious bias by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement and Mayo Clinic professionals, review of Harvard University’s Implicit Association Test and the CDC's Let's Stop HIV together language guide. The Fear and Emotions Regarding HIV and the Medicine and Stigma Regarding HIV surveys were used to assess staff efficacy. Five participants completed the Fear and Emotions Regarding HIV survey and 6 participants completed the Medicine and Stigma Regarding HIV Survey. A paired t test was used to determine Pearson’s Correlation coefficient for each survey. Even with this small sample size, the Pearson Correlation result of 0.56 for the Fears and Emotions Regarding HIV shows a positive change in scores in the posttest from the pretest. A Pearson Correlation result of 0.11 for the Medicine and Stigma Regarding HIV, shows a low effect positive change in the posttest from the pretest. The limitation was the small sample size. Results suggests that participation in this education can lead to positive social change for PLWA by enhancing communication skills in nursing and healthcare specialties.