Nursing students’ experiences of witnessing physical restraint during placements
Intended for healthcare professionals
Evidence and practice    

Nursing students’ experiences of witnessing physical restraint during placements

Lauren Daughtrey Master of research graduate, health sciences, University of Southampton, Southampton, England

Why you should read this article:
  • To learn about the experiences of nursing students who witness physical restraint on practice placements

  • To understand how to support these students after episodes of physical restraint

  • To reflect on the provision for supporting nursing students in your own practice area

Background There is a paucity of research on mental health nursing students’ experiences of witnessing physical restraint in practice, despite the fact that they spend half of their time in clinical placements.

Aim To understand the experiences of mental health nursing students who witnessed physical restraint during their clinical placements.

Method Qualitative data were collected through semi-structured interviews conducted remotely with three students from three universities in England. Thematic analysis was used to analyse the data.

Findings Participants found witnessing physical restraint distressing but had positive experiences of the support provided to them by clinical teams. They felt that receiving some education on physical restraint before their first placement could have reduced their distress and feeling of unpreparedness.

Conclusion In placement settings, clinical teams need to be mindful of students’ support needs after an incident of physical restraint. At university, enhanced education reinforced by simulation and lived experience accounts could better prepare nursing students for witnessing physical restraint in practice.

Mental Health Practice. doi: 10.7748/mhp.2023.e1639

Peer review

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


Conflict of interest

None declared

Daughtrey L (2023) Nursing students’ experiences of witnessing physical restraint during placements. Mental Health Practice. doi: 10.7748/mhp.2023.e1639

Published online: 29 March 2023

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