Date of Degree


Document Type

Doctoral Project

Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)




Maureen Rauschhuber


Background. Generalized anxiety disorder is characterized by persistent anxiety and uncontrollable worry occurring more days than not for a minimum of 6 months (Patriquin & Mathew, 2017). Presently, anxiety screening and evidence-based practice treatment for adults are suboptimal. It is impossible to overemphasize the importance of early diagnosis and prompt treatment of generalized anxiety disorder in patients. Purpose. The purpose of this quality improvement project was to implement the Generalized Anxiety Disorder-7 (GAD-7) screening tool, a validated, evidence-based instrument, in a psychiatric inpatient facility to improve early detection and treatment of anxiety disorders in patients. Methods. Staff members were educated in the use of the GAD-7 screening tool. Patients who were 18 years of age and older were screened for anxiety upon admission to the general adult inpatient psychiatric unit using the GAD-7 screening tool. Patients were given treatment by providers and staff based on the clinical practice guidelines. Results. All new patients admitted to the general adult inpatient psychiatric unit were screened using the GAD-7. Of the 23 patients screened, 52.2% of patients scored 15 or higher, which triggered further assessment by the provider. Implications for Practice. The GAD-7 screening tool is used to assist and guide providers in diagnosing and treating generalized anxiety disorder. Ultimately, the implementation of the GAD-7 will address the underdiagnosis and undertreatment of the disease by improving the assessment, rate of diagnosis, and care for patients experiencing severe anxiety.