Use of a mnemonic to support suicide intervention training for nursing students
evidence and practice    

Use of a mnemonic to support suicide intervention training for nursing students

Mark Gillespie Nurse lecturer mental health, School of Health and Nursing, University of the West of Scotland, Paisley, Scotland

Why you should read this article:
  • To update your knowledge of the nurse’s role in suicide assessment and management

  • To understand how the use of a mnemonic may be beneficial in remembering the elements of the suicide intervention process

  • To familiarise yourself with the suicide intervention training programmes that may assist you in developing your skills in suicide prevention

Recently, there has been an increased awareness of the extent of suicide as a global issue. In the UK, the reduction of deaths caused by suicide is a governmental goal in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, which has led to the development of training initiatives to improve the recognition and management of suicide risk. Since many of the groups of people who are at increased risk of suicide are in contact with healthcare services, nurses will frequently encounter people who experience suicidal ideation. This is recognised in the updated Nursing and Midwifery Council standards of proficiency for registered nurses, which state that nurses in all fields of practice are required to be able to recognise and assess people who show signs of self-harm and/or suicidal ideation.

This article explores the use of the mnemonic ‘TIPTOES’ (trauma, intent, plan, time frame, other experience of suicide, encouragement, support recovery) to support nursing students to develop their confidence and competence in suicide intervention.

The Scottish Government’s Suicide Prevention Action Plan (Scottish Government 2018) identified the need for ongoing improvement in strategies to prepare and support people working with individuals at risk of suicide. Suicide intervention training is an integral element of pre-registration nurse education programmes, although evidence suggests that nurses often find this issue challenging in practice (Thomas 2017). This article explores how the mnemonic ‘TIPTOES’ (trauma, intent, plan, time frame, other experience of suicide, encouragement, support recovery) may assist nursing students in remembering and understanding the main steps of the suicide intervention process. The article also discusses the wider applicability of the mnemonic, which was developed by the School of Health and Nursing at the University of the West of Scotland, for nurses and other healthcare professionals.

Mental Health Practice. doi: 10.7748/mhp.2019.e1424

Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and has been checked for plagiarism using automated software

@MarkJGillespie7

Correspondence

mark.gillespie@uws.ac.uk

Conflict of interest

None declared

Gillespie M (2019) Use of a mnemonic to support suicide intervention training for nursing students. Mental Health Practice. doi: 10.7748/mhp.2019.e1424

Published online: 28 November 2019