presented by Julie Brandy
Schizophrenia is a chronic disease affecting nearly 1% of the United States population. Schizophrenia is considered the most disabling of the mental disorders, impacting all areas of an individual’s life. Health care professionals working with individuals with schizophrenia may face challenges related to disease symptomology and management. This course will provide students with a comprehensive overview of schizophrenia, including symptomology and management of the disease. Topics to be covered include: theories of etiology and prevalence of the disease; common symptoms experienced by individuals with schizophrenia; the American Psychiatric Association’s diagnostic criteria for schizophrenia; as well as pharmacological and non-pharmacological management of common symptoms. Important topics for patient and caregiver teaching will be included throughout. Information presenting in this course will be useful when working with individuals with schizophrenia in all non-home health settings. The target audience for this course includes nurses (LPNs & RNs), Advanced Practice Nurses, and Physician Assistants (PAs). Course content could also be beneficial for athletic trainers, physical therapists, occupational therapists, and speech-language pathologists.
Dr. Brandy is an Associate Professor of Nursing at Valparaiso University. She holds a PhD in Nursing Science from Loyola University, Chicago, a master’s degree as a clinical nurse specialist in psychiatric/mental health nursing, and a post-graduate Certificate as a family nurse practitioner from Valparaiso University. Dr. Brandy is certified as a family nurse practitioner by the American Nurses Credentialing Center and as a nurse educator by the National League for Nursing. Her clinical background includes experience in critical care, surgery, acute, and residential psychiatric care, family practice. She currently practices as a nurse practitioner overseeing the care of rehabilitation and extended-care patients at a residential facility. Dr. Brandy’s work has been published in the Journal of Psychosocial Nursing and Mental Health Services and Jacob’s Journal of Gerontology. She is a member of several professional nursing organizations including Sigma Theta Tau, American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, American Psychiatric Nurses Association, National Gerontological Nursing Association, and the Midwest Nursing Research Society. She has been invited to serve as a reviewer for the Journal of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association and the Journal of Psychosocial Nursing and Mental Health Services. Her research interests include spirituality and mental health.
Schizophrenia is a disabling, chronic illness that typically is diagnosed in individuals between the ages of 15-34 years. Schizophrenia affects men and women equally. There are no biologic tests to confirm the diagnosis of schizophrenia, and the exact etiology of the disease is unknown. Several theories explaining the possible etiology of schizophrenia will be discussed.
Schizophrenia is considered a heterogeneous clinical syndrome, meaning that symptoms of the disease can vary widely from one patient to another. The American Psychiatric Association (2013) has established specific criteria for the diagnosis of this disorder based upon symptomology, as well the duration the individual has experienced the symptomology. The specific criteria for the diagnosis of schizophrenia, including the most common symptoms, will be discussed.
Multiple medications are available to assist in the management of symptoms related to schizophrenia. The most common categories of medications are the typical antipsychotic drugs and the atypical antipsychotic drugs. The pharmacologic properties and mechanism of actions for these medications will be discussed. Although these medications may work well to manage the symptoms of schizophrenia, they have adverse effects which range from mild to life-threatening. Health care professionals working with individuals with schizophrenia must possess skills to recognize and intervene quickly when patients experience these adverse effects.
Many of the chronic symptoms of schizophrenia can make it challenging for health care professionals to develop a therapeutic working relationship with patients. Interventions that can be utilized by health care professionals during the maintenance phase of the disease to develop a trusting relationship will be discussed. When a patient with schizophrenia is experiencing acute symptoms, such as delusions and hallucinations, safety must be a priority. Non-pharmacologic interventions that can be utilized during acute episodes of delusions or hallucinations to provide for safety will be discussed.