Date of Award


Document Type



College of Nursing

Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

Project Mentor

Jonnae Tillman


Deidre McHugh


Research on the relationship between nutrition and mental health is growing. Mental health professionals, including Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioners (PMHNPs), may lack the knowledge and confidence to endorse nutrition to benefit mental health outcomes. This quality improvement project sought to increase PMHNPs’ knowledge of nutritional psychiatry, build confidence in discussing nutritional interventions, and increase the nutritional education of patients. The project aims were to evaluate PMHNPs’ current knowledge and attitudes about nutritional psychiatry; assess if PMHNPs’ current practice includes nutritional psychiatry; analyze the effect of a training tool to increase knowledge of nutritional psychiatry and confidence in nutritional counseling; and identify gaps for nursing education stakeholders. A quasi-experimental design was implemented, with an educational intervention and pre- and post-training and follow-up surveys to assess PMHNPs’ knowledge and attitudes toward nutrition and mental health. Forty responses were analyzed for the pre-training survey, six for the posttraining survey, and six for the follow-up survey. Interest in nutrition among PMHNPs was high, but knowledge and confidence were not as significant. The intervention did not have a statistically significant influence on the knowledge or confidence of the participants who opted-in for follow-up. Many respondents believed nutrition did not receive adequate attention in graduate-level education despite its importance. PMHNPs are interested in learning about nutrition in relation to mental health. Training content on nutritional psychiatry and how to effectively engage with patients should be developed both for graduate school curriculum and continuing education.