Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 5-24-2018

Date of Final Presentation

Spring 3-10-2018

Committee Chair

Dr. Cara Gallegos

Committee Member

Dr. Jane Grassley

Coordinator/ Chair of DNP Program

Dr. Pam Strohfus

Abstract/ Executive Summary

Background: Psychiatric illness is unpredictable, has spasmodic tendencies, and represents one of the most reported types of disabilities in the United States. Behavioral health clinicians are front line respondents and considered a major ally to providers by supporting medication management recommendations and referring new patients for medication management. Basic evidence-based psychopharmacology improves behavioral health clinicians’ knowledge, however, is inadequate in curricula, and many undergraduate and graduate programs lack one dedicated psychopharmacology class. This abbreviated knowledge contributes to inadequate referrals for treatment and poor confidence in supporting the practitioners’ medication recommendations.

Method: This project examined behavioral health clinicians’ knowledge, confidence, and beliefs, and identified ways to influence positive clinical behaviors, primarily by optimizing medication literacy through an educational session and resources for use after the initial session. In addition, the project compared referral rates before and after the educational session.

Results: This project validates evidence that optimizing clinicians’ medication knowledge through a multi-modal faceted approach, in which practitioners facilitate education to collaborative teams, improves confidence and positive beliefs and may contribute to increased referral rates for medication management.

Conclusion: This project provided an educational session to behavioral health clinicians about common mental health medications to determine if it would promote medication knowledge, strengthen confidence, and influence positive belief systems. Additionally, it identified patterns that may suggest accelerated referrals for medication management after expanded medication knowledge. Ultimately, it was anticipated that shared decision-making through a collaborative approach can guide superior patient outcomes.