Forensic learning disability nursing: what's it really like?

Mark F Dalgarno (South Staffordshire & Shropshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, Stafford, UK)
Sharon A Riordan (College of Medical and Dental Sciences, School of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK)

Journal of Intellectual Disabilities and Offending Behaviour

ISSN: 2050-8824

Publication date: 8 December 2014



The purpose of this paper is to explore the lived experiences of learning disability nurses working within forensic services, and their views on their practice as a speciality.


A qualitative, semi-structured interview-based design was used and participant's voices were examined through interpretive phenomenological analysis.


Nurses explored a range of topics related to their practice and overall, five superordinate themes were developed. Forensic nursing as being both the same and different to generic nursing, the journey, and the emotional challenge of forensic nursing, the balancing act of everyday practice and the role of language within forensic nursing practice.


Very little research has examined the views of learning disability nurses within the forensic field. This study gives both a voice to these nurses and suggests areas of interest both for research and for clinicians to consider in their practice.



The authors would like to thank the Trust where this research took place and the staff who gave willingly of their time and honesty.


Dalgarno, M.F. and Riordan, S.A. (2014), "Forensic learning disability nursing: what's it really like?", Journal of Intellectual Disabilities and Offending Behaviour, Vol. 5 No. 4, pp. 167-177.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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