Identification and diagnosis of depression by nurse practitioners
Heimmerman, Mary K.
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Primary care providers treating patients in clinic settings are increasingly being called upon to treat depressed patients. Several techniques and diagnostic tools have been developed in recent decades to aid in diagnosing the illness. Yet use of diagnostic methods seems varied. The purpose of this study was to explore NPs' methods of identifying and diagnosing depression. Jean Watson's Descriptive Theory of Human Caring was used as the conceptual framework for this study. It states that caring is the most central and unifying focus for nursing practice. Her emphasis is on the common humanness of the caregiver and the patient as a shared process in the health-illness experience. A quantitative design was used to explore how NPs diagnose depression. The sample size included 125 family, adult, and geriatric Nurse Practitioners with at least two years' experience in primary care settings, practicing in a Midwestern state in the United States. Data was collected through the use of a questionnaire mailed to randomly selected participants. It is hoped the study will enlarge nursing's knowledge base of caring for depressed adults of both genders. As well, it is