The following article is a part of conference coverage from the American Psychiatric Nurses Association (APNA) 34th Annual Conference, held online from September 30 to October 4, 2020. The team at the Clinical Advisor will be reporting on the latest news and research conducted by leading nurses in psychiatry. Check back for more from APNA 2020.


The Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) Pain Rehabilitation Program was found to be associated with improving pain level and mood, with mental health nurses delivering significant value in building therapeutic relationships, according to research recently presented at the 2020 meeting of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association (APNA), held online from September 30 to October 4, 2020.

This study included 60 individuals who completed the MUSC Pain Rehabilitation Program, 91.7% of whom were diagnosed at baseline with at least 1 comorbid mental health condition: depressive disorder (53.3%), anxiety disorder (38.3%), adjustment disorder (30%), or bipolar disorder (3.3%). The majority (83%) of patients were prescribed at least 1 antidepressant. A holistic nursing care model was applied that accentuated treating each individual as a whole person rather than a physical body, provided patients with decision-making power, and fostered open communication. The Brief Symptom Inventory was used to measure depression, anxiety, and somatization at baseline and after completing the program.

Continue Reading

The researchers noted that all Brief Symptom Inventory subscale scores showed significant improvement between pretreatment and post-treatment. The mean anxiety score (± standard deviation) decreased from 8.52±5.74 to 4.55±3.98, the depression score decreased from 9.50±6.17 to 3.60±4.06, somatization decreased from 8.60±4.46 to 5.87±4.16, and global distress decreased from 26.62±13.83 to 14.02±9.90 (P <.001 for all). 

The study authors concluded that nurses were an important part of these improvement by recognizing mood symptoms early, encouraging healthy habits, and building meaningful relationships. The ability of nurses to consider cultural differences empowers both the patients and their families to improve their “health status, health behaviors, self-management, and general well-being.”

Visit Clinical Advisor’s meetings section for complete coverage of APNA 2020.


Kimball LM, Crouch T, Wilson G, Barth K. Nursing innovations of chronic pain rehabilitation program addressing anxiety and depression. Presented at: APNA 34th Annual Conference; September 30-October 4, 2020. Poster 83.