The psychiatric patient's right to self-determination: A preliminary investigation from the professional nurse's point of view

Maritta Anneli Vaelimaeki, H. Helenius

Research output: Journal article publicationReview articleAcademic researchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


The aim of this preliminary empirical investigation was to explore the concept of self-determination and to discuss its applicability to psychiatric nursing. The data were collected with a questionnaire submitted to professional nurses (n=127) working on long-term wards in four Finnish hospitals. Data analysis combined the methods of content analysis and quantitative statistics. A tentative concept apparatus was created in order to provide nursing science with a broader understanding of the issue at hand. Nurses identified various factors that act to restrict and to support self-determination: the most common restrictive factor was the patient's illness or condition, and the most common supportive factor was nursing intervention. Views differed on the importance of self-determination in the case of psychiatric patients; over half of the nurses described the right to self-determination as very important. On the basis of the findings it is concluded that self-determination is a valid concept for the psychiatric patient. It was also thought to serve the needs of education as well as evaluation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)361-372
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • Autonomy
  • Professional nursing staff
  • Self-determination

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Phychiatric Mental Health

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