Critical care nurses' and doctors' attitudes to parasuicide patients

S Bailey
Australian Journal of Advanced Nursing: a Quarterly Publication of the Royal Australian Nursing Federation 1994, 11 (3): 11-7
The aim of this study was to investigate the attitudes of critical care nurses and doctors to parasuicide patients. A survey was conducted of 299 nurses and 81 doctors working in emergency departments and intensive care units of nine Victorian hospitals. Data obtained from responses to a Likert-type questionnaire were assessed in order to explore relationships between the doctors' and nurses' attitudes and demographic and other variables. The survey showed that the nurses' and doctors' attitudes to parasuicide patients were generally negative and that respondents did not enjoy caring for parasuicide patients. Nurses were significantly more likely than doctors to think that nurses' attitudes to parasuicide patients were poor. Nurses were also significantly more likely than doctors to self report that they were afraid of saying the wrong thing to these patients. Eighty three percent of nurses and 61% of doctors stated that they would benefit from suicide related education. Addressing this expressed need must be a high a priority for critical care units if parasuicide patients are to receive more individual and appropriate care and if their carers are to experience greater work satisfaction.

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