Date of Award

Spring 4-30-2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)




Dr. John Chovan

First Committee Member

Dr. Regina Prusinski

Second Committee Member

Dr. Jason Bisping


Nonepileptic, Psuedoseizure, Psychogenic, Nursing, Perception, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Subject Categories

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy | Medicine and Health Sciences | Nursing | Other Psychiatry and Psychology | Psychiatric and Mental Health | Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing


Patients with psychogenic nonepileptic spells (PNES) have generally poor outcomes and many fail to engage in evidence-based treatments (Thompson et al., 2013). Negative healthcare provider perceptions have been implicated as a barrier to patient engagement in treatment recommendations for PNES (Whitehead, Kandler, & Reuber, 2013; Worsely et al., 2011). Illness perception of these patients has been evaluated from the perspective of physicians in multiple settings but perceptions by nurses are not well studied despite the close interactions that nurses have with these patients.

This project used Pender’s health promotion model to collect information about the nursing experience with patients with PNES at one facility. Using a quantitative translational design, 51 inpatient neurology nurses at Grant Medical Center in Columbus, Ohio were surveyed using the Illness Perception Questionnaire-Revised (IPQ-R) and a 21-item questionnaire previously used to assess physician knowledge and perceptions of PNES. After establishing existing nursing perceptions and knowledge, a brief education intervention was implemented. The questionnaires were administered pre- and post-intervention to evaluate if a brief education intervention can influence nursing knowledge and perceptions regarding patients with PNES.

This project revealed that the neurology nurses at GMC held many misconceptions and poor perceptions about PNES and nurses had a low level of self-perceived competency in caring for patients with PNES. After the intervention, nurses demonstrated improved knowledge, perceptions and self-perceived competency about the condition. This project indicates that a brief education intervention can influence nursing knowledge, perceptions and self-perceived competency. Further research is indicated to determine if improving nursing perceptions influences nursing behaviors that can promote patient engagement in treatment recommendations and thus improve patient outcomes.



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