A national survey of GP and nurse attitudes and beliefs towards depression after myocardial infarction

Joanne Haws, Janet Ramjeet, Richard Gray

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    5 Citations (Scopus)


    Aim. To investigate primary care practitioner’s attitudes to depression after myocardial infarction. Background. Depression after myocardial infarction affects almost half of all patients and has a considerable negative effect on recovery. Despite the increased prevalence of depression in this population, it is often not recognised or treated. Design. Survey. Method. A total of 813 (106 general practitioners and 707 nurses) practitioners responded. Our questionnaire developed for this project by the authors in collaboration with a group of ten cardiovascular nurse specialists contained 27 items that were summated into five subscales. Results. Primary care practitioners underestimated the prevalence of depression in the post-myocardial infarction population. General acknowledgement of the negative impact that depression can have was reported by the majority of participants. Diagnosing depression was perceived as complex by both groups but significantly more so by nurses. General practitioners were significantly more positive about their understanding of the signs and symptoms of depression and in using depression-screening tools. We observed that training seems to have a significant effect on reported practice. Practitioners who reported that they had recent training in the management of depression were significantly more accurate in their estimate of how common depression was in this population. Conclusion. Depression may be underdiagnosed in this population because primary care practitioners, especially nurses, are not aware of how common the disorder is and lack competence in diagnosis. There is merit in developing and testing a brief training intervention to ensure competence in depression screening and treatment in post-myocardial infarction patients. Relevance to clinical practice. Diagnosing depression in post-myocardial infarction patients is perceived by nurses as complex but training in the management of depression is seen as helping practice.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)3215-3223
    Number of pages9
    JournalJournal of Clinical Nursing
    Issue number21-22
    Publication statusPublished - Nov 2011

    Cite this