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Experiences of psychiatric nurses exposed to hostility from patients in a forensic ward

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tema t.r., poggenpoel m. & myburgh c.p.h. (2011) Journal of Nursing Management 19, 915–924

Experiences of psychiatric nurses exposed to hostility from patients in a forensic ward

Background  Hostile behaviour is becoming a way of life in South Africa. Hostility prevails at all settings, including in the health sector. In a forensic ward psychiatric nurses are subjected to hostile behaviour by the patients.

Aim  The aim of the present study was to explore and describe the psychiatric nurses’ experiences of hostile behaviour by patients in a forensic ward and make recommendations for nurse managers to empower these psychiatric nurses to cope with the patients’ aggression.

Method  Qualitative, in‐depth, phenomenological interviews were conducted with nine psychiatric nurses exposed to hostility from patients in a forensic ward. Recommendations were derived from the results from nurse managers to assist psychiatric nurses.

ResultsĀ  It became apparent from the findings that psychiatric nurses in a forensic ward work in a stressful environment. Hostile behaviour in the forensic ward is consistently experienced by the psychiatric nurses as hindering therapeutic relationships. The psychiatric nurses experienced being disempowered.

Conclusion  Psychiatric nurses experience hostile behaviour by patients in a forensic ward as disempowering.

Implications for nurse management  Nurse managers can facilitate psychiatric nurses’ empowerment by providing them access to: information, support, resources, opportunity and growth.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: , Department of Nursing Science 2: , Department of Educational Psychology, University of Johannesburg, Auckland Park, South Africa

Publication date: October 1, 2011

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