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Keywords:

  • attempted suicide;
  • suicidal thoughts;
  • mental health nurses;
  • ethics;
  • phenomenological–hermeneutics;
  • psychiatric care;
  • patients' narratives;
  • recognition;
  • confirmation

The meaning of suicidal psychiatric in-patients' experiences of being cared for by mental health nurses

Twenty-one psychiatric in-patients who had thought about, expressed the wish or even attempted to commit suicide narrated their experiences of receiving care from mental health nurses. The interview texts were transcribed and interpreted using a phenomenological–hermeneutic method, inspired by Ricoeur's philosophy. Two main themes with subthemes were found: Confirming: attending to patients' basic needs; seeing patient; having time for patient; being with patient; listening to patient without prejudice; being open to patient; accepting patient's feelings; communicating hope to patient; and Lack of confirming: overlooking patient's basic needs; not seeing patient; not having time for patient; leaving patient to herself or himself; listening to patient with prejudice; not being open to patient; denying patient her or his feelings; communicating hopelessness to patient. These findings were interpreted in the light of Hegel's philosophy of mutual recognition and confirmation. When relating episodes of good or bad nursing care suicidal patients emphasized their need for confirmation during their interaction with nurses when in hospital after suicide attempts.