Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

Document Type

Project Paper


Zvart Onanian School of Nursing



Date of Original Version

May 2022


Background: In the United States many children and adolescents have anxiety. Despite the high prevalence and severe consequences of childhood anxiety disorders and depression, less than half of these children receive adequate treatment. Purpose/Specific Aims: School age children experiencing anxiety is common, and the number continues to rise. School nurses are ideally positioned to prevent mental health issues and intervene during mental health exacerbations. The project purpose was to provide better support for school nurses caring for children with anxiety. Aims included providing the nurse with education on anxiety, with a brief assessment tool to use with anxious students, and with tools for promoting interprofessional collaboration. Method: A convenience sample of 10 school nurses participated in this quality improvement project in a Rhode Island public school district. The design was a mixed method using a multifaceted intervention approach. Nurses completed pre and post-test surveys. Social workers completed a survey. Results: Quantitative results of the school nurse and mental health interprofessional collaboration increased from pre to post-test. Four themes of barriers school nurses face in providing mental health services in their school were identified: limited staff; lack of time; family issues; and lack of communication. Prior to COVID-19, a lack of mental health specialists and resources were reported to be available for anxious students. Conclusions: A gap in interprofessional collaboration remains between school nurses and the mental health team. More research is needed on this topic to increase collaboration.