Violent events, ward climate and ideas for violence prevention among nurses in psychiatric wards: A focus group study

Tella Lantta, Minna Anttila, Raija Kontio, Clive E. Adams, Maritta Anneli Vaelimaeki

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: Patient violence against nurses in their work environments is a widespread global concern, particularly in the field of mental health care. A high prevalence of violent events impacts the well-being of nurses and may also impair overall ward climate. However, it has been proposed that nurses' use limited techniques to prevent patient violence, and, therefore, more comprehensive methods for dealing with patient violence are needed. There is still restricted understanding of the ward climate during the occurrence of a violent event as well as how these incidents could be more effectively prevented. This study aimed to explore nurses' experiences of violent events in psychiatric wards, give insight into ward climates and examine suggestions for violence prevention. Methods: This study employed a descriptive, exploratory design including focus groups (n = 5) and open-ended questions. The participants were registered and enrolled nurses (n = 22) working on three closed psychiatric inpatient wards in one Finnish hospital district. Focus groups were tape-recorded, transcribed and analyzed with inductive content analysis. Results: Nurses' experiences of violent events included a variety of warning signs and high-risk situations which helped them to predict forthcoming violence. Patient-instigated violent events were described as complicated situations involving both nurses and patients. When the wards were overloaded with work or emotions, or if nurses had become cynical from dealing with such events, well-being of nurses was impaired and nursing care was complicated. Suggestions for violence prevention were identified, and included, for example, more skilled interaction between nurses and patients and an increase in contact between nurses and patients on the ward. Conclusions: This study revealed the complexity of violent events on psychiatric wards as well as the implications of these events on clinical practice development and training, administration and policy. A routine process is needed through which nurses' experiences and ideas concerning prevention of violent events are acknowledged.
Original languageEnglish
Article number27
JournalInternational Journal of Mental Health Systems
Volume10
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2016

Keywords

  • Focus groups
  • Patient assault
  • Psychiatric Hospitals
  • Psychiatric nursing
  • Qualitative research
  • Violence
  • Violence prevention
  • Workplace violence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Phychiatric Mental Health
  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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