Document Type



Doctor of Nursing Practice



Date of Defense


Graduate Advisor

Dawn Lee Garzon PhD, CPNP, FAANP


Dr. Shelly Hanko, PhD

Dr. Joanne Thanavaro, DNP

Yamkima Young-Shields EdD(c)


The purpose of this project is to perform a program evaluation of current treatment patterns of primary care providers for osteoporotic vertebral compression fractures (VCF). VCF’s result in significant morbidity and long term sequelae following a VCF is not uncommon. Additionally, there is controversy regarding the diagnosis and management of this disorder, especially as these relate to the clinical practice guidelines. This practice evaluation project included a pre and post-test survey and a continuing education offering. Thirty-nine physicians and nurse practitioners completed the survey instruments and attended the continuing education sessions. The educational session resulted in improvement of the provider’s comfort level and understanding of vertebral column fracture identification and management (F=4.709, df=4, p=0.004). Eighty-two percent of the respondents were unfamiliar with the current practice guidelines for compression fractures prior to the educational session. The post survey response to changing practice pattern after continuing education was 71.8%. Of note, there was a significant difference in the use of clinical practice guidelines between physicians and nurse practitioners (F=5.941, df=4, p=0.001)). The information obtained from this project could be used as a spring board for a large scale project. Further study is needed to determine if these results are reproducible in other settings and with larger more heterogeneous samples. Additionally, the statistically significant difference between physicians and nurse practitioners use of the current practice guidelines merits further research. Nonetheless, preliminary findings suggest that continuing education can improve primary care providers understanding of vertebral column fractures in the short term.

Included in

Nursing Commons