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Suicidal patients and special observation


Cleary, M and Jordan, R and Horsfall, J and Mazoudier, P and Delaney, J, Suicidal patients and special observation, Journal of psychiatric and mental health nursing, 6, (6) pp. 461-467. ISSN 1351-0126 (1999) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 1999 Blackwell Science. Copyright 2002

DOI: doi:10.1046/j.1365-2850.1999.00246.x


Special observation is a nursing practice utilized in in-patient psychiatric facilities for patients who are suicidal. Special observation is carried out by an allocated registered nurse remaining continuously at arms length from, or within sight of (as specified), the patient; or a registered nurse observing the patient within a 30 min interval. In this exploratory study, we investigated the role of the registered nurse when caring for patients on special observation. Semistructured interviews were conducted with 10 randomly selected registered nurses from 4 acute psychiatric wards. The 9 themes that emerged were: 1) Safety; 2) Therapeutic relationships; 3) Supporting patients and carers; 4) Consequences of special observation for nurses; 5) Continuity of care concerns; 6) Peer support; 7) Suicide indicators; 8) Responsibilities and rights: nurses and patients; and 9) Nurses, doctors and the hospital hierarchy. Recommendations for alleviation of the concerns about the practice of special observation are outlined and discussed.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:mental health nursing
Research Division:Health Sciences
Research Group:Health services and systems
Research Field:Mental health services
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Public health (excl. specific population health)
Objective Field:Mental health
UTAS Author:Cleary, M (Professor Michelle Cleary)
ID Code:108475
Year Published:1999
Deposited By:Health Sciences
Deposited On:2016-04-19
Last Modified:2016-11-15

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