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Nurses’ narratives about using coercion in psychiatric care


Britta Olofsson Department of Advanced Nursing, Umeå University, 901 87 Umeå, Sweden.


To illuminate nurses’ experience of using coercion against psychiatric patients, a phenomenological hermeneutic study was conducted with seven registered nurses and seven enrolled mental nurses. The findings revealed that these nurses desired to be seen by themselves, their co-workers and patients as doing good, being good and providing good care but they experienced the use of coercion as not good. This conflict made it difficult for these nurses to question the use of coercion and consider alternative solutions. The theory of change by Watzlawick et al. (1974 ) served as a theoretical framework for the interpretation of all interviews regarded as one text. In order to explore alternatives to the use of coercion in psychiatric care, nurses need assistance to step outside the traditional way of regarding coercion in psychiatric care and seek to create new solutions.