Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



School of Nursing


Not Listed

Committee Chair

Teresa Ritchie

Committee Co-Chair

Toni DiChiacchio

Committee Member

Toni DiChiacchio

Committee Member

Amy Coffman



Negative attitudes of health professionals towards patients with SUD are common and contribute to suboptimal health care for this marginalized group of patients (Van-Boekel, Brouwers, Van-Weeghel & Garretson, 2013).


Promoting empathy in the Emergency Department (ED) has the potential to increase nursing staff’s awareness of their attitudes and perceptions toward patients with SUD, thereby decreasing the stigma associated with addiction and improving patient care and patient outcomes. The rationale for implementing this project was to evaluate a tool to promote empathy. This tool was developed by the student researcher based on a literature search and analysis.


This study used The Drug and Drug Problems Perceptions Questionnaire (DDPPQ) developed in 2003 by Watson, Macleran, Shaw & Nolan to evaluate the effectiveness of an intervention designed to promote empathy for patients with SUD. The questionnaire was administered to nurses prior to and after the intervention. The intervention, a PowerPoint Presentation, was designed by the DNP student investigator and contained information about the scientific underpinnings of addiction, a state of the union for addiction in Appalachia and storytelling experiences from anonymous patient interviews that occurred during the DNP investigators clinical immersion experiences. The intervention was offered on five different occasions in January and February of 2019. Nonparametric testing was used to evaluate pre-intervention data with post intervention data. Demographic data was also obtained.


Fifteen participants attended the presentations. Of those 15, five were not nurses but served other roles in the ED such as technician or registration. Of the 10 participants that were nurses, 80% returned post-intervention questionnaires (N=8).


Non-parametric, Wilcoxon’s Signed Ranks Test was used to evaluate the difference between total pre and total post-test score of the 22 question Drug and Drug Problems and Perceptions Questionnaire (DDPPQ). This finding was statistically significant, p value= .03. Statistical significance was noted within two subscales: role adequacy (.05) and self-esteem (.03). A strong correlation was identified between role support and job satisfaction subscales (r=.86, p


A program to promote empathy in the ED is an effective tool for increasing nursing staff’s awareness of their attitudes and perceptions toward patients with SUD. This awareness has the potential to decease the stigma associated with addiction and improve patient care and patient outcomes. Similar programs can be easily incorporated into institutional education curriculum. Larger studies to determine significant relationships between data are recommended.


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