Date of Award


Degree Name

Nursing (D.N.P.)


College of Nursing

First Advisor

Dr. Karen Burritt

Second Advisor

Dr. Kimberly Lohr

Third Advisor

Dr. Jaclynn Lubbers

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Erin Chillag


Adolescent risk-taking behaviors contribute significant risk to the current and future health of adolescent patients and have a significant annual cost to society. A primary care practice in western Michigan had no standardized practice related to the screening, evaluation, and response to adolescent-risk taking behaviors. As a result, only three of the fourteen providers were consistently following national guidelines for screening, evaluating, and responding to adolescent risk-taking barriers. The providers cited lack of time and lack of knowledge as barriers to following guidelines. The purpose of this quality improvement project was to address the health care needs of the adolescent patients in the organization by improving the screening, evaluation, and response to adolescent-risk taking behaviors by the primary care providers. This project utilized quality improvement methods to develop and implement practice protocols for providers to use during adolescent well-exams. Analysis of provider surveys and chart reviews indicated that the intervention led to an increase in provider knowledge of the recommendations for adolescent risk-taking behavior screening, and an increase in the screening of adolescents for substance use and sexual activity. These improvements will be sustained with the implementation of a standardized screening tool for adolescent risk-taking behaviors. Equipping health care providers with the knowledge, resources, and protocols to address adolescent risk-taking behaviors can help to improve the health care offered to adolescent patients.