Nurses' attitudes towards suicidal behaviour – a comparative study of community mental health nurses and nurses working in an accidents and emergency department

Authors

  • Martin Anderson BA (Hons) MSc RN (Mental Health) DipHE

    Corresponding author
    1. Lecturer in Mental Health Nursing Studies, Department of Nursing and Midwifery Studies, Faculty of Medicine, University of Nottingham, England
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Martin Anderson, Department of Nursing and Midwifery Studies, Faculty of Medicine, University of Nottingham, Medical School, Queen's Medical Centre, Nottingham NG7 2UH, UK

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to explore and compare the attitudes towards suicidal behaviour of community mental health nurses (CMHNs) and registered nurses working in an accidents and emergency (A&E) department. The sample consisted of 80 nurses working in the same locality. An instrument was desined using statements from Domino's 'Suicide Opinion Questionnaire’(SOQ) and new statements based on a comprehensive survey of research in this area. The instrument contained four attitudinal categories consisting of: acceptability; morality and mental illness; professional role, work and care; and communication and attention. Results reveal that both groups of nurses held generally positive attitudes towards suicidal behaviour, contrasting with previous studies where more negative attitudes amongst nurses were found. A t-test showed no statistically significant differences between the two groups of nurses in any of the four attitudinal categories. Attitudes were significantly different in accordance with nurses' length of experience and age within both groups. Further research is needed in this area in nurses are to develop their role alongside other professionals working towards the objectives of suicide prevention policies.

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