Date of Award


Degree Type

Evidence-Based Project Report

Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)



First Advisor

Amy C. Cory


Healthy People has projected depression to be the primary cause of disability by 2020; therefore routine depression screening has been prioritized as a national healthcare initiative. The purpose of this Evidence-Based Practice (EBP) project is to demonstrate that routine implementation of the 2-item Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-2) depression screener, along with a scheduled follow-up protocol for adults in the primary care setting, can improve current mental health practices regarding the identification of depression by clinicians. The evidence supports use of the PHQ-2 for routine adult depression screening, as long as a scheduled follow-up protocol is available for positive screens. This practice change enables clinicians to accurately identify depressed adults, promptly intervene, and implement an appropriate plan of care. The Iowa Model of Evidence-Based Practice and Kotter’s (1996) Eight Stages of Change model expedited the implementation of this project. Data were collected during a one-month implementation period and analyzed by the Statistical Package for Social Services (SPSS) Version 23. Baseline data included the number of identified depressed adult patients based on clinical judgment in the same timeframe the year prior. A total of 27 (N) patients were identified as depressed per the EBP intervention. Comparing clinical judgment (3.49%) to the EBP intervention (20.19%) there was a significant increase in the number of identified depressed adult patients. In summary, this EBP project intervention increased the accuracy of the clinician’s identification of depression among adult patients in the primary care setting. Implications for future practice would improve mental health assessment by the clinician thus increasing the frequency and accuracy for diagnosing depression.