On Oct. 18, University of Arizona College of Nursing Doctor of Nursing Practice student Colleen Green received a $2,000 award from the Southern Arizona Advanced Practice Nurse/Nurse Practitioner Society (SAZAPN).
The grant will support Colleen’s budget for her DNP project, “Mental Health Assessment Techniques for the Culturally Deaf: Best Recommendations for Providers.”
SAZAPN strives to create cohesiveness among Southern Arizona Nurse Practitioners and Advanced Practice Nurses, providing a medium for networking, to share and gain knowledge on recent nursing legislature, contribute to our local community through community service, education and volunteerisms, and to facilitate a forum for discussion on issues significant to Southern Arizona Advanced Practice Nurses.
“We appreciate Colleen expanding her education to meet the mental health care provider shortfall, especially as it pertains to the deaf community,” said SAZAPN Vice President, Ashlyn Schaub, FNP-C. “She has a wealth of knowledge and experience that will benefit our members.”
We caught up with Colleen recently to learn more about her nursing journey and the passion fueling her research.
"Two of my children are culturally deaf and I’ve seen – in the process of learning as a parent – how deaf people struggle in the medical and mental health arena. I thought that there was something that we could do as health care professionals to encourage providers and people at the clinic to become more aware about deaf culture.” ~ Colleen Green, DNP student
Why choose Arizona Nursing for your DNP?
I graduated from the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program in 2017, so I went into nursing with a goal of completing a DNP. Arizona Nursing is one of the top programs in the country and I don’t think I’d want to go anywhere else.
What will the SAZAPN award do for you?
With a family of six, it would have been very hard for me to carry out the project. Having the money to disseminate the work makes everything a lot less stressful on me and my family than it otherwise would have been.
What is the inspiration behind your DNP project?
I’ve been thinking about this topic for the last five years. I studied it in my Bachelor’s program, and now for my DNP project. Two of my children are culturally deaf and I’ve seen – in the process of learning as a parent – how deaf people struggle in the medical and mental health arena. I thought that there was something that we could do as health care professionals to encourage providers and people at the clinic to become more aware about deaf culture. The main takeaway is that deaf people are capable and smart, and they can do anything that a hearing person can do, so it’s not that I need to be there to help them; I actually want to walk alongside them and partner with them to provide that education to providers and staff.
Tell us more about the scope of your project.
I’m looking at providers and staff in an entire clinic and their knowledge, skills and attitudes regarding culturally deaf people. Providing education to a clinic is difficult, because people’s time is limited, so I created the project to be interactive. It’s a series of YouTube videos that people are asked to watch. It takes less than 20 minutes a week and goes for four weeks. It’s flexible, so they can watch it on a TV in the break room, or they can watch it from their personal devices at home. Following that, they finish another survey to prepare and see if any of those factors have been removed as a result of the training.
It’s for providers but it’s also for the entire staff. If a deaf person walks into a clinic and the front desk person has never interacted with a deaf person before, they can immediately lose the feeling that it’s a safe place to be. I want to target anybody and everybody who works at the clinic all the way from the custodians to the maintenance person to the staff that’s at the front desk, not just providers.
Could this training be rolled out nationwide?
We need this kind of training everywhere, in hospitals, in clinics, in facilities that do mental health care, so, yes, the idea would be to do this training to at least start the conversation for culturally sensitive care.
What kind of reaction have you gotten from people who received the training?
A lot of people have come up and either started signing to me, to say ‘Hi,’ which is really cool, or they’ll say, ‘Wow, we were watching this video and this is really great content because in all the content it’s culturally deaf people speaking for themselves.’
What are your hopes for the future?
I hope to teach part time as a nursing instructor and be able to integrate what I’ve learned about this population for other young nurses coming into the field. And then I want to part time practice and hopefully integrate some telehealth into working with culturally deaf people in the future.