Doctor of Nursing Practice Program

Mary Darden, DNP, FNP-C

Mary Darden
  • Committee Chair Name & Credentials:
    Debra Arnow, DNP, RN, NEA-BC
  • Committee Member Name & Credentials:
    Donna McArthur, PhD, FNP-BC, FAANP, FNAP


DNP Project Abstract

Barriers to Access Care and Utilization of Student Health Services

Expand the family nurse practitioner (FNP) scope of practice in Student Health Services at Harding University (HU) to improve the students' access and utilization of timely care.   Conduct a health needs assessment of Harding University (HU) graduate and undergraduate students to identify perceived barriers to access care and utilization of SHS to inform the proposed practice change.

Prospective participants at HU in Searcy, Arkansas were sent two recruitment emails that included a survey link to a 21-question health needs assessment utilizing a RedCap web-based survey to their university email over a two-week period starting March 16th, 2022.

A total of 526 students responded to the survey. The most common perceived barrier was the lack of provider services to order common tests, i.e., flu and strep tests, and prescribe medications; 39.5% of respondenting students. For those respondents who never sought care at SHS, 16.4% selected “Cannot prescribe medication” and 13.8% selected “Do not provide needed medical services.” In response to “How important having a full-service clinic on campus,” 67.2% selected ‘very important.’ Students (89.1%) selected they would use SHS if full services were offered.

Implications for Practice
Providing timely access to high quality, cost-efficient care is of the utmost importance to student health and well-being and academic success (ACHA, 2016). Expanding the scope of practice of HU SHS will allow for this goal to be met; the survey results help to inform this practice change.