Date of Award

Spring 5-26-2018

Document Type

Doctor of Nursing Practice Final Manuscript

Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice



First Advisor

Michael Terry, DNP, APRN


Background: Psychotropic medications, particularly stimulants are frequently used as the first-line treatment for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Many patients and their caregivers have concerns about psychotropic options for treatment. Review of current literature demonstrates the efficacy of physical activity in reducing symptoms of ADHD. Purpose: This evidence based practice (EBP) project introduced regular, scheduled aerobic activity into the treatment plan of children and adolescents with ADHD. The aim of this EBP was to reduce symptoms of ADHD measured by caregivers using the Vanderbilt Ratings Scale. The Johns Hopkins Nursing Evidence Based Practice Model was used to implement this project. Methods: Participants were children and adolescents (N=12) aged 7-17 years receiving psychiatric treatment in an outpatient psychiatric practice with a diagnosis of ADHD. Caregivers completed the Vanderbilt Rating Scale prior to intervention. Participants were asked to participate in 30 minutes of aerobic activity at least three days a week for one month. Exercise was tracked by participants using a fitness application of their choice or by handwritten logs. At the end of the month care- givers completed a second Vanderbilt Rating Scale and scores were compared to initial scores. Outcomes: Pending. Conclusions: The project hopes to demonstrate the efficacy of incorporating exercise into the treatment plan of patients with ADHD. This will give providers, patients and/or their caregivers a possible alternative or augmentative treatment modality to traditional medication options. Providers may require training or instruction in how to best implement this with patients and how to allocate time for the intervention during patient visits.