Nurses' attitudes, knowledge and beliefs towards individuals who engage in non-suicidal self-injury

Vine, J 2015, Nurses' attitudes, knowledge and beliefs towards individuals who engage in non-suicidal self-injury, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Health Sciences, RMIT University.

Document type: Thesis
Collection: Theses

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Title Nurses' attitudes, knowledge and beliefs towards individuals who engage in non-suicidal self-injury
Author(s) Vine, J
Year 2015
Abstract The phenomenon of non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) is an escalating and perplexing behaviour that has been explored in previous literature without definitive results. Self-injury in the absence of expressed suicidal intent is a greatly unexplored area within mental health nursing. Self-injury can be described as the deliberate destruction of the body without the intent to die, and is a distinct field needing to be seen separately from suicide and para-suicide. There is paucity in the literature regarding the attitudes of registered nurses (RN) employed outside of the emergency department, including mental health nurses and enrolled nurses’ (EN) attitudes towards NSSI and this study aimed to fill the gap that exists in the literature.

The aim of this study was to investigate nurses’ attitudes, knowledge and beliefs towards individuals who engaged in NSSI.

This was a mixed methods exploratory design study using a combination of two well adapted surveys, the Self-Harm Antipathy Scale (SHAS) and the Attitudes Towards Deliberate Self-Harm Questionnaire (ATDSHQ). Nurses who were either RNs or ENs, mental health educated or not, working in in the area of mental health or emergency departments were recruited through a number of the professional nursing organisations. A total of 175 nurses completed the online questionnaire. At the end of the questionnaire participants were invited for a follow up phone interview lasting 45 to 90 minutes. There were 25 nurses interviewed. The audio recordings where transcribed and then the data analysed using thematic analysis.

The results from the quantitative data indicated that the attitudes of the nurses to NSSI were generally positive. There was a significant difference noted in the knowledge level between the mental health nurses who had greater knowledge compared to those who were not mental health endorsed. Similarly, the qualitative results supported this difference but at the same time indicating that there was a lack of knowledge generally from this group of nurses to NSSI. The qualitative results also indicated that there was generally a negative attitude of this group of nurses to NSSI. In addition, there was a negative workplace culture to self-injury. There were a number of beliefs identified from the participants including that caring for NSSI was wasting their time and reference to a number of strategies, including specialling and no harm contracts which were not necessarily useful.

Much of the literature confers with these results on attitudes and knowledge with this study identifying the differences between the groups of nurses that were previously not identified. These results, however, extend much of what is in the literature on knowledge, attitudes and beliefs of nurses to NSSI. The findings from this study point to the need to increase the education of nurses at all levels in NSSI in order that they have a better understanding and therefore develop a more positive attitude to NSSI. Through this education, the negative culture that strongly exists towards NSSI can be turned around. Further research to assess the effectiveness of this increased education and compare to this study should be undertaken.
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Institution RMIT University
School, Department or Centre Health Sciences
Keyword(s) nurses knowledge
nurses attitude
nurses beliefs
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Created: Mon, 16 Nov 2015, 09:29:08 EST by Denise Paciocco
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