Supported Decision Making: Skills and Tools for Clinical Practice

Published:December 01, 2022DOI:


      • Primary care nurse practitioners often provide care to individuals experiencing mental health conditions such as depression.
      • Psychotropic medications carry many potential benefits and risks; there is rarely 1 “best choice” for an individual.
      • Supported decision making is a framework that can help nurse practitioners individualize care for this population.
      • Supported decision making promotes positive therapeutic relationships and outcomes for individuals experiencing mental health symptoms.


      Supported decision making is an essential competency for advanced nursing practice, particularly in the management of mental health conditions for which there are often multiple reasonable pathways for treatment. However, historical and cultural barriers have delayed full implementation in standard clinical practice for individuals experiencing mental health symptoms. Primary care clinicians provide mental health care to many individuals, and often there is not a single “best choice” of treatment. Nurse practitioners are well placed to integrate supported decision making into practice. The purpose of this article is to synthesize the literature related to supported decision making to provide guidance to nurse practitioners.


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      Shari Harding, DNP, PMHNP-BC, CPRP, is an associate professor at Tan Chingfen Graduate School of Nursing at the University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School in Worcester, MA, and can be contacted at [email protected]