Self-harm is a public health issue that accounts for thousands of presentations at hospital each year. Self-harm commonly involves self-injury by cutting, burning or poisoning. The incidence of self-harm is increasing in the UK, particularly in young people. Research suggests that people who self-harm experience negative attitudes from healthcare staff, including nurses, on presentation to healthcare services. This is an ethical issue in nursing practice that has implications for the quality of care provided. Nurses with a lack of mental health training provide care for patients who self-harm in emergency departments and acute medical settings. This article presents a literature review exploring the factors affecting nurses’ attitudes towards patients hospitalised for self-harm and makes recommendations for improving practice. The article identifies requirements for nurse education and training in mental health and effective provision of care for patients who self-harm and present at the emergency department.
Nursing Standard. 30, 31, 38-44. doi: 10.7748/ns.30.31.38.s44Correspondence
All articles are subject to external double-blind peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated software.
Received: 29 April 2015
Accepted: 28 July 2015
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