• communication;
  • counselling;
  • interviews;
  • psychiatric nurses;
  • psychotherapeutic care;
  • suicidal in-patients

An exploration of psychiatric nurses' and patients' opinions regarding in-patient care for suicidal patients

This study explores psychiatric nurses' and patients' opinions regarding the care provided for in-patients who were admitted following: (i) depression as a result of psychosocial difficulty, (ii) suicidal ideation, or (iii) an overt suicidal behaviour. It also explores how care for such patients could be improved. A total of 20 psychiatric nurses and 17 in-patients were interviewed. The results show that nurses and patients believe that communicating with patients about their difficulties is the most important skill in psychiatric nursing. Most nurses were disappointed with the limited time they had available to communicate with patients and they were constructively critical of their pre-registration training in communication skills. Patients suggested that nurses should spend more time in helping to problem-solve their difficulties. Both nurses and patients suggest that situational factors impinge on the time available for psychotherapeutic care. Findings have implications for pre- and post-registration education and practice. Responses from both cohorts suggest how care could be improved.