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JOURNAL ARTICLE

Accident and emergency nurses' attitudes towards patients who self-harm

Terence McCann, Eileen Clark, Susan McConnachie, Isabel Harvey
Accident and Emergency Nursing 2006, 14 (1): 4-10
16330213
The study aimed to assess if accident and emergency (A&E) nurses have positive or negative attitudes towards patients with deliberate self-harm, and to assess if nurses' age, length of A&E experience, or in-service education influence their attitudes towards these patients. An adapted version of the Suicide Opinion Questionnaire was used to assess attitudes towards patients with deliberate self-harm. Data were collected from 43 Registered Nurses in the A&E department of a major city hospital in Australia. Data were analysed using SPSS. Most nurses had received no educational preparation to care for patients with self-harm. Over 20% claimed the department either had no practice guidelines for DSH or they did not know of their existence; one-third who knew about them had not read them. There were significant differences between respondents on several variables. Older and more experienced nurses had more supportive attitudes than younger and less experienced nurses. Nurses who had attended in-service education on DSH had more positive attitudes than non-attendees. Overall, the findings have implications for improving the educational preparation of A&E nurses, improving awareness and adoption of practice guidelines, mentoring nurses, and improving attitudes towards patients who self-harm.

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