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Journal: International journal of mental health nursing


In the present study, we interviewed 40 patients in acute inpatient mental health settings regarding their experience of, and views about, receiving pro re nata (PRN) medication. Patient requests for PRN were primarily to relieve anxiety or to aid sleep, and the majority of the participants (80%) could describe a situation where this medication was very helpful. From the perspective of patients, interactions surrounding the immediate administration of PRN medication were inadequate, in that half of the interviewees were simply told to take the medication, and three-quarters said that, in their experience, formal consent was not commonly sought. Three-quarters of respondents came up with alternatives to PRN, and half wanted more information about the medication itself. These findings could contribute to improved nursing assessment for PRN medication need, administration, and monitoring.

Concepts: Present, Health care provider, Patient, Experience, Nursing, Interview, Perspective, Pro re nata


The journal impact factor (JIF), and how best to rate the performance of a journal and the articles they contain, are areas of great debate. The aim of this paper was to assess various ranking methods of journal quality for mental health nursing journals, and to list the top 10 articles that have received the most number of citations to date. Seven mental health nursing journals were chosen for the analysis of citations they received in 2010, as well as their current impact factors from two sources, and other data for ranking purposes. There was very little difference in the top four mental health nursing journals and their overall rankings when combining various bibliometric indicators. That said, the International Journal of Mental Health Nursing is currently the highest ranked mental health nursing journal based on JIF, but publishes fewer articles per year compared to other journals. Overall, very few articles received 50 or more citations. This study shows that researchers need to consider more than one ranking method when deciding where to send or publish their research.

Concepts: Academic publishing, Science, Ranking, Nature, Impact factor, Bibliometrics, PageRank


Nurses' attitudes about the causes and management of aggression affects their choice of intervention. We aimed to compare the attitudes held by patients and staff in a forensic mental health service with the Management of Aggression and Violence Attitudes Scale, and examine the factor validity of the tool in this setting by conducting a prospective comparative questionnaire survey. Staff (n = 72) and patient (n = 98) attitudes differed to a limited extent. Confirmatory factor analysis refuted the previously reported structure of the tool. Exploratory factor analysis suggested three underlying factors related to modifiability of aggression, hands on management, and hands off management. Patients were more optimistic than nurses about the modifiability of aggressive behaviour. Male patients and those with diagnoses other than personality disorder were significantly more likely to agree about modifiability than controls. Forensic inpatients recognize the need for the use of a range of techniques to prevent and manage aggression and violence, but selected groups are most likely to believe that aggression is modifiable. Prevention and management of aggression training should emphasize the modifiability of aggressive behaviour. The development of measures of modifiability and management style would assist in the evaluation of training and would offer new avenues for research.

Concepts: Psychometrics, Factor analysis, Aggression, Violence, Confirmatory factor analysis, Raymond Cattell


Despite significant changes to mental health services, nurses remain the professional group most likely to be in close contact with people who experience mental health problems. A core part of the contemporary identity of the mental health nurse is one who is able to provide acceptance and support for an individual’s recovery through the therapeutic relationship. Yet there have always been some tensions with the mental health nursing role that can appear to challenge this relational focus. An increasing prominence of risk management in mental health care can position mental health nurses as responsible for enacting restrictions and has reignited interest in the role of mental health professionals in social control. This paper reports on one part of a multiple case study, which aimed to explore mental health professionals' experiences of such tensions in the context of decision-making. Interviews and observations were undertaken in acute ward and assertive outreach settings. Findings suggested that risk dominated decision-making to such an extent it defined the way service users were understood and treated. A distant relationship between professionals and service users helped to create and maintain this situation. There needs to be a greater focus on service users' subjective experiences in the decision-making process to challenge the definition of people with mental health problems as risky.

Concepts: Medicine, Risk, Mental health, Decision theory, Nursing, Psychiatry, Psychiatric and mental health nursing, Mental health professional


Child abuse and neglect play a causal role in many mental health problems. Knowing whether users of mental health services were abused or neglected as children could be considered essential for developing comprehensive formulations and effective treatment plans. In the present study we report the findings of a systematic review, using independent searches of three databases designed to discover how often mental health staff find out whether their clients were abused or neglected as children. Twenty-one relevant studies were identified. Most people who use mental health services are never asked about child abuse or neglect. The majority of cases of child abuse or neglect are not identified by mental health services. Only 28% of abuse or neglect cases identified by researchers are found in the clients' files: emotional abuse, 44%; physical abuse, 33%; sexual abuse, 30%; emotional neglect, 17%; and physical neglect, 10%. Between 0% and 22% of mental health service users report being asked about child abuse. Men and people diagnosed with psychotic disorders are asked less than other people. Male staff ask less often than female staff. Some improvement over time was found. Policies compelling routine enquiry, training, and trauma-informed services are required.

Concepts: Child abuse, Abuse, Neglect


Rising levels of burnout and poor well-being in healthcare staff are an international concern for health systems. The need to improve well-being and reduce burnout has long been acknowledged, but few interventions target mental healthcare staff, and minimal improvements have been seen in services. This review aimed to examine the problem of burnout and well-being in mental healthcare staff and to present recommendations for future research and interventions. A discursive review was undertaken examining trends, causes, implications, and interventions in burnout and well-being in healthcare staff working in mental health services. Data were drawn from national surveys, reports, and peer-reviewed journal articles. These show that staff in mental healthcare report poorer well-being than staff in other healthcare sectors. Poorer well-being and higher burnout are associated with poorer quality and safety of patient care, higher absenteeism, and higher turnover rates. Interventions are effective, but effect sizes are small. The review concludes that grounding interventions in the research literature, emphasizing the positive aspects of interventions to staff, building stronger links between healthcare organizations and universities, and designing interventions targeting burnout and improved patient care together may improve the effectiveness and uptake of interventions by staff.

Concepts: Health care, Health care provider, Medicine, Health, Clinical trial, Improve, Illness, Peer review


Speaking up is an important communication strategy to prevent patient harm. The aim of this study was to examine speak up-related behaviour and climate for the first time in psychiatric hospitals. A cross-sectional survey was conducted among healthcare workers (HCWs) in six psychiatric hospitals with nine sites in Switzerland. Measures assessed speak up-related behaviour with 11 items organized in three scales (the frequency of perceived safety concerns, the frequency of withholding voice, and the frequency of speaking up). Speak up-related climate was assessed by 11 items organized in 3 subscales (psychological safety for speaking up, encouraging environment for speaking up, and resignation). Statistical analyses included descriptive statistics, reliability, correlations and multiple regression analysis, confirmatory factor analysis, and analysis of variance for comparing mean scores between professional groups. A total of 817 questionnaires were completed (response rate: 23%). In different items, 45%-65% of HCWs reported perceived safety concerns at least once during the past four weeks. Withholding voice was reported by 13-25% of HCWs, and speaking up was reported by 53%-72% of HCWs. Systematic differences in scores were found between professional groups (nurses, doctors, psychologists) and hierarchical groups (lower vs higher status). The vignette showed that hierarchical level and perceived risk of harm for the patient were significant predictors for the self-reported likelihood to speak up. Situations triggering safety concerns occur frequently in psychiatric hospitals. Speaking up and voicing concerns should be further promoted as an important safety measure.


A systematic review of the published work on consumer involvement in the education of health professionals was undertaken using the PRISMA guidelines. Searches of the CINAHL, MEDLINE, and PsychINFO electronic databases returned 487 records, and 20 met the inclusion criteria. Further papers were obtained through scanning the reference lists of those articles included from the initial published work search (n = 9) and contacting researchers in the field (n = 1). Thirty papers (representing 28 studies) were included in this review. Findings from three studies indicate that consumer involvement in the education of mental health professionals is limited and variable across professions. Evaluations of consumer involvement in 16 courses suggest that students gain insight into consumers' perspectives of: (i) what life is like for people with mental illness; (ii) mental illness itself; (iii) the experiences of admission to, and treatment within, mental health services; and (iv) how these services could be improved. Some students and educators, however, raised numerous concerns about consumer involvement in education (e.g. whether consumers were pursuing their own agendas, whether consumers' views were representative). Evaluations of consumer involvement in education are limited in that their main focus is on the perceptions of students. The findings of this review suggest that public policy expectations regarding consumer involvement in mental health services appear to be slowly affecting the education of mental health professionals. Future research needs to focus on determining the effect of consumer involvement in education on the behaviours and attitudes of students in healthcare environments.

Concepts: Health care, Psychology, Medicine, Health, Education, Mental health, Illness, Psychiatry


Self-harm is a major challenge to public health. Emergency department (ED) nurses treat significant proportions of patients with self-harm injuries, and positive therapeutic patient-nurse interactions are imperative to the physical and psychological outcome of this vulnerable patient group. Research, both nationally and internationally, suggests that treating those with self-harm injuries is emotionally challenging, and ambivalence, powerlessness, and ineffectiveness are commonly manifested in negative attitudes towards these patients. Following the PRISMA guidelines, this systematic review with meta-analyses examined the attitudes of ED nurses towards patients who self-harm, based on currently available evidence. The following databases were searched: CINAHL complete; Medline complete; PsycARTICLES; PsycINFO; The Allied and Complementary Medicine Database; Health Source: Nursing/Academic Edition; PsycEXTRA; and Psychology and Behavioural Sciences Collection. Clinical trials registries for ongoing and unpublished studies, and scanned reference lists of relevant reports to identify additional studies, were also searched. Five studies were included in the meta-analysis. The Self-Harm Antipathy Scale (SHAS) was used as an outcome in two studies appropriate for meta-analysis. The Attitudes Towards Deliberate Self-Harm Questionnaire (ADSHQ) scale was used as an outcome in three studies appropriate for meta-analysis. Results demonstrated limited empathy and negativity towards patients who self-harm, indicating a requirement for education and supervision of ED staff, where the SHAS or the ADSHQ can be used to monitor attitude change. Self-harm educational content for ED staff should include areas of knowledge building including explanations and causes of self-harm; range, forms, and functions of self-harm; staff responses to self-harm; assessment, management, and interventions; professional practice issues.


More than 10% of adults are prescribed antidepressants annually in some countries. Recent increases in prescribing can be explained more by repeat prescriptions than new patients. This raises the question of whether antidepressants are addictive. A total of 1829 New Zealanders who had been prescribed antidepressants completed an online survey; 44% had been taking antidepressants for more than 3 years and were still taking them. Withdrawal effects when stopping medication were reported by 55%, and addiction by 27%. Paroxetine had particularly high rates of withdrawal symptoms. Only 1% of participants recalled being told about withdrawal effects when prescribed the drugs. Such high rates of withdrawal symptoms suggest that all concerned, including mental health nurses, need to help people considering antidepressants to understand that it can be difficult to withdraw from them. It will also be beneficial to closely monitor people already taking antidepressants and who are at risk of long-term usage.