NURS FPX 4900 Assessment 1 Assessing the Problem: Leadership, Collaboration, Communication, Change Management, and Policy Considerations

Assessing the Problem: Leadership, Collaboration, Communication, Change Management, and Policy Considerations

Effective treatment of mental diseases, particularly bipolar disorder, involves a holistic approach that combines leadership, teamwork, communication, handling changes, and policy concerns. The assessment focuses on Christine, a 34-year-old woman dealing with the complexities of bipolar disorder, marked by alternating manic and depressive episodes. With conditions such as depression, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder affecting millions worldwide, effective intervention through therapy, medication, and holistic care approaches is crucial (Stein et al., 2022). The assessment aims to explore evidence-based strategies and leadership approaches essential for improving Christine’s outcomes and enhancing the quality of care she receives.

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Christine, a 34-year-old woman, has been managing a mental illness for the past decade. She suffers from bipolar illness, which is defined by alternating manic and depressed episodes. During manic moments, Christine’s energy levels soar, leading to impulsive behavior, while depressive episodes leave her feeling deeply hopeless and lethargic. When her mood drops dramatically she feels hopeless. Christine has trouble being consistent with her treatment, even though she is taking medicine and attending therapy sessions. She frequently skips appointments and stops taking medication when she is manic. Her career, personal connections, and general well-being have all taken a hit due to this unpredictability. The instability of Christine’s condition impacts not only her but also her loving family.

Defining the Patient Health Problem

Mental illness refers to a broad range of illnesses that influence emotion, thought, and behavior. These illnesses have a major impact on everyday functioning and quality of life. Bipolar disorder is a long-term mental illness that causes intense manic and depressive episodes. Christine, a 34-year-old woman, has been managing this condition for the past decade, experiencing periods of extreme energy and impulsivity, followed by deep depression. Disruptions to a person’s mental health, social relationships, and work performance are just a few ways in which these mood episodes diminish their capacity to go through daily life (National Institute of Mental Health, 2024). Managing bipolar disorder requires a comprehensive strategy due to the specific difficulties it brings. During manic episodes, people with bipolar disorder experience elevated energy levels, decreased sleep needs, and impulsive behaviors. They experience severe hardships despair, and tiredness (National Institute of Mental Health, 2024). Developing effective treatment regimens that incorporate medication adherence, psychotherapy, and support systems is crucial since these mood changes can cause major disruptions in a patient’s life.

Data and Significance

Christine’s case is emblematic of a pervasive issue substantiated by statistical data highlighting the widespread prevalence and significant impacts of mental illness. More than 1 in 5 adults in the United States live with a mental illness, encompassing a spectrum from mood disorders to severe conditions like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder (CDC, 2023). Among adolescents, the prevalence is equally concerning, with over 20% experiencing seriously debilitating mental health conditions at some point in their lives. These findings highlight the critical need for holistic approaches that incorporate leadership, cooperation, interaction, change management, and policy measures to improve mental health outcomes across different groups. Approximately 2.8% of adults in the United States are affected by bipolar illness each year, with a lifetime frequency of about 4.4% (CDC, 2023). Complications, such as substance misuse and anxiety problems, are common, and it causes a great deal of disability and financial strain. Christine’s inconsistent adherence to therapy is typical of bipolar illness patients.

Relevance to Nursing Practice

As a baccalaureate-prepared nurse, addressing mental illness is not only a professional imperative but also a personal commitment to holistic patient care. Nurses play a pivotal role in promoting mental health through evidence-based practices, therapeutic interventions, and patient advocacy (Kavitha et al., 2022). By engaging in collaborative care teams and leveraging effective communication strategies, nurses can mitigate the stigma associated with mental illness and facilitate access to timely and appropriate treatments. Due to the vital role that nurses play in treating chronic diseases, educating patients and families, and coordinating care, addressing bipolar disorder as a baccalaureate-prepared nurse is extremely relevant to practice. A comprehensive strategy combining clinical knowledge, patient education, and family assistance is necessary for the effective treatment of bipolar disorder (Kavitha et al., 2022). The nurse can help advocate for changes in policy that support mental health services, improve patient outcomes, and increase the quality of life for patients and their families by focusing on this health concern.

Analyzing Evidence

Medication, psychotherapy, and patient education are all important parts of a comprehensive strategy for managing bipolar disorder. Proper pharmacotherapy adherence is crucial for relapse prevention and symptom management, according to peer-reviewed literature. This is especially true for mood stabilizers like lithium and antipsychotic drugs (Sampogna et al., 2023). According to research by Tsikada (2020), consistent medication adherence greatly decreases hospitalizations and improves the quality of life for individuals with bipolar disorder. Furthermore, it has been demonstrated that psychoeducational therapies including patients and their families improve adherence and results by increasing awareness and management of the condition (Iuso et al., 2023). These results align with what nurses have seen in the field, which is that education for both the patient and their family is a crucial part of any effective care plan for bipolar disorder. Critical for early detection of symptom recurrence and prompt intervention, the literature also highlights the importance of nurses in offering continuous care and monitoring. Research by Rabasco et al. (2022) highlighted the importance of psychosocial therapies, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), in conjunction with pharmaceuticals to help stabilize mood and decrease relapse rates.

Reliability of Evidence

Applying unambiguous criteria for evaluating evidence, it becomes evident that the Currency, Relevance, Authority, Accuracy, and Purpose (CRAAP) framework is crucial in assessing the credibility of literature informing nursing practice in mental health (Nakayama et al., 2022). The cited studies and systematic reviews are recent and published in reputable journals, ensuring rigorous methodologies and evidence-based practices in bipolar disorder management. Relevance is established through the direct application of findings to nursing interventions, emphasizing the significance of tailored psychosocial support and collaborative care models in enhancing patient outcomes. The evidence is highly relevant to the topic of managing bipolar disorder (Nakayama et al., 2022). The purpose of the studies appears to be to investigate the effectiveness of various interventions (medication adherence, psychoeducational therapies, and psychosocial therapies) in managing bipolar disorder.

Potential Barriers to Evidence-Based Practice

Evidence-based practice for bipolar disorder faces challenges due to factors like stigmatization, limited mental health resources, and financing issues. However, following clinical standards, including frequent monitoring and follow-up, can improve patient outcomes (Ramsay et al., 2023). These barriers include limited resources for comprehensive psychiatric services, stigma associated with mental illness, and variability in healthcare provider training in psychiatric care. Nurses play a crucial role in policy-making, advocating for changes that enhance patient care. Nurse-led initiatives, such as lobbying for mental health laws and increased funding, can lead to significant improvements in patient outcomes (Hajizadeh et al., 2021). These efforts not only prevent illness but also reduce hospital readmissions by ensuring comprehensive and continuous care.

Nursing Theory/Conceptual Framework

During the practicum, nursing behaviors can be guided by conceptual frameworks such as Orem’s Self-Care Deficit Nursing Theory (Yip, 2021). Orem’s theory highlights the significance of self-care and the nurse’s responsibility in assisting patients to attain and maintain their physical well-being, which is especially relevant for handling chronic diseases like bipolar disorder. Applying this framework, nurses can assess Christine’s self-care abilities during different phases of bipolar disorder and intervene to enhance her coping mechanisms and adherence to treatment regimens. By promoting patient autonomy and supporting self-management strategies, nurses empower individuals like Christine to achieve better mental health outcomes.

Impact of Nursing Practice Standards and Policies on Bipolar Disorder

State Board Nursing Practice Standards

State board nursing practice standards, such as those set by the American Nurses Association (ANA), provide a framework for high-quality care and define the scope of nursing practice. These standards emphasize the importance of patient-centered care, evidence-based practice, and continuous professional development (Ernstmeyer & Christman, 2021). For patients like Christine with bipolar disorder, adherence to these standards ensures that nurses provide comprehensive assessments, develop individualized care plans, and educate patients and their families about the importance of treatment adherence and recognizing early signs of mood changes. The ANA standards also advocate for the use of therapeutic communication and collaboration with interdisciplinary teams, which are crucial in managing complex conditions like bipolar disorder (Ernstmeyer & Christman, 2021). By following these standards, nurses can significantly improve patient outcomes through consistent, high-quality care.

Organizational and Governmental Policies

Organizational policies, influenced by laws like the Affordable Care Act (ACA), are designed to improve mental health treatments accessibility and include behavioral health services into primary care. Because of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), insurance plans are now required to cover addiction and mental health services as essential benefits (Rosales & Calvo, 2021). This policy change is particularly beneficial for patients with bipolar disorder, as it increases their access to necessary treatments and reduces financial barriers. Research by Isaacs and Mitchell (2024) indicates that integrated care models supported by the ACA, which combine mental health and primary care services, lead to improved health outcomes and reduced hospital readmissions for patients with mental health disorders.

Governmental policies like the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA) also play a crucial role. This legislation mandates that insurance coverage for mental health conditions be no less favorable than that for medical/surgical conditions (CMS, 2023). As a result, patients like Christine are more likely to receive comprehensive care without the constraints of inadequate insurance coverage. Such policies contribute to better treatment adherence and continuity of care, ultimately improving patient outcomes.

Nurses in Policy Making

In the process of developing policies to enhance patient outcomes, avoid disease, and lower hospital readmission rates, nurses play an important part. The literature highlights numerous instances where nurse-led advocacy has led to significant policy changes (Chiu et al., 2021). By participating in policy-making, nurses can advocate for mental health reforms, such as increased funding for mental health services and the implementation of more integrated care models.

Effects on Nursing Scope of Practice

The effect of these policies on nursing scope of practice in mental health is profound. For example, the MHPAEA expands the scope of nursing practice by ensuring that nurses can engage in comprehensive care planning, psychoeducation, and crisis intervention for individuals with bipolar disorder and other mental health conditions (Ernstmeyer & Christman, 2021). State board nursing practice standards reinforce this by advocating for competencies in psychiatric assessment, therapeutic communication, and medication management among nurses. The nursing scope of practice is significantly influenced by local, state, and federal policies, particularly in mental health care (Ernstmeyer & Christman, 2021). The ACA promotes nurse-led primary care models and integrates mental health services, allowing for more autonomy and improved access to care for patients like Christine.

Leadership Strategies to Improve Bipolar Disorder Management

Leadership Strategies

Transformational leadership is particularly effective in improving outcomes and patient-centered care for individuals with bipolar disorder. This leadership style emphasizes inspiration, motivation, and vision-setting to drive positive change within healthcare teams (Ystaas et al., 2023). Leaders employing transformational leadership can foster a shared vision of holistic care for patients like Christine, emphasizing not only symptom management but also long-term stability and quality of life. For instance, a nurse leader inspires interdisciplinary teams to collaborate closely, ensuring that Christine receives integrated care that addresses both medical and psychosocial aspects of her condition.

Servant leadership emphasizes empathy, listening, and empowerment of team members to enhance patient care. A nurse leader adopting this approach in a psychiatric setting for bipolar disorder may prioritize staff well-being and patient advocacy (Demeke et al., 2024). For example, the leader could facilitate regular reflective practice sessions where staff discuss challenging cases and share insights. By fostering a supportive environment and encouraging open communication, servant leadership promotes team cohesion.

Effective Communication Strategies

Effective communication strategies are essential in bipolar disorder management to ensure patients like Christine receive clear information and support. Nurse leaders can promote open communication channels within interdisciplinary teams and with patients’ families, fostering transparency and trust (Demeke et al., 2024). Utilizing techniques such as motivational interviewing, nurses can explore Christine’s perspectives, address treatment concerns, and enhance her motivation for treatment adherence during both manic and depressive phases. This approach facilitates shared decision-making and empowers Christine to actively participate in her care, leading to improved treatment outcomes.

Change Management Strategies

Leadership in bipolar disorder management requires adept change management strategies to navigate evolving clinical practices and healthcare policies. Leaders should proactively address resistance to change among staff and stakeholders by emphasizing the benefits of evidence-based practices and patient-centered care models (Jango, 2024). Nurse leaders can apply models like the Transtheoretical Model (TTM) to assess Christine’s readiness for change and tailor interventions accordingly. For instance, during periods of stability, nurses can collaborate with Christine to set realistic goals for symptom management and wellness strategies (Jango, 2024). Effective change management ensures that healthcare teams remain agile and responsive to new research findings and emerging treatment modalities.


During this portion of my practicum, I spent approximately 2 hours engaging with Christine, a patient diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and her family members at their home. Our discussions focused on understanding the challenges they face in managing Christine’s condition and exploring potential interventions from leadership, collaboration, communication, change management, and policy perspectives. My rationale for choosing this patient was based on the complexity of bipolar disorder management and the opportunity to work closely with Christine and her supportive family to improve outcomes. I presented the importance of holistic care approaches and the significance of evidence-based practices in managing bipolar disorder. Leadership skills in inspiring vision and setting goals, effective collaboration with the healthcare team, clear communication of treatment plans, and strategies for managing resistance to change were essential.


In conclusion, effective leadership in bipolar disorder management involves implementing collaborative care teams, fostering transformational leadership practices, employing effective communication strategies, and applying change management models. Through evidence-based practices and patient-centered care, nurses can significantly impact outcomes for individuals like Christine, promoting stability, reducing relapse rates, and enhancing overall quality of life. By advocating for holistic care and integrating innovative strategies, nurses play a pivotal role in improving the lives of patients with bipolar disorder and their families. Moving forward continued emphasis on education, policy advocacy, and collaborative care models will be essential in advancing the field and ensuring optimal outcomes for individuals affected by bipolar disorder.


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