Date of Award

Summer 2022

Document Type

Final DNP Paper

Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) in Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner



Faculty Chair

Dr. Jolie Wildinger


Dr. Eugene O'Hea


Background: Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are an increasing epidemic in the United States (U.S.) that need immediate interventions to reverse the effects of syphilis on the sexual health of adults in rural populations. Many are unaware of the growing rate of syphilis and the overall impact it causes nationally. When syphilis is detected early, it can be easily treated and cured. Rural primary care providers are ideal candidates for implementing education, screening, testing, and treatment.

Purpose: The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) project aims to increase the frequency of screening patients in rural primary care clinics for high-risk sexual behaviors. Those identified as high-risk for contracting syphilis will receive education, a recommendation for testing, and treatment. This effort hopes to increase awareness, stop spreading, and improve patient outcomes.

Methods: This quality improvement project provides rural primary care providers with a syphilis screening tool for adults 18 years or older at high risk for STIs. The screening tool is a questionnaire patient complete while waiting to see the provider. This method allowed patients to communicate with the provider without unwarranted discussion and anonymity.

Results: After the provider modified his routine assessment and incorporated the syphilis screening tool, results showed a p-value of 0.00035, which was statistically significant. Despite some restrictions and barriers, the provider and patients better-understood syphilis and other STIs' dangers.

Conclusion: This project helped identify the need for STI education, testing, and treatment in rural primary care clinics. Implementing a syphilis screening tool was the first building block toward creating awareness and testing patients who may have risky sexual behaviors.


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