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Student nurses’ experiences of support in relation to suicide or suicidal behaviours of mental health patients: an exploratory study

Louise Phillips (Based at the School of Health Sciences, City University, London, UK)
Stephanie Tannis‐Ellick (Based at East London NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK)
Betsy Scott (Based at East London NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK)

The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice

ISSN: 1755-6228

Article publication date: 14 June 2013

594

Abstract

Purpose

Observations have been made that mental health students receive very little support following observing patients displaying suicidal behaviour. The purpose of this paper is to conduct a small‐scale empirical study to investigate this issue further.

Design/methodology/approach

The approach used in this study is phenomenological. Qualitative data were obtained through semi‐structured interviews consisting of a range of questions asking mental health student nurses about their experiences of support in practice. The data are analysed using thematic analysis.

Findings

As well as issues relating to the support of mental health student nurses in practice, there are many ethical issues raised in this paper. These include student responsibilities while in placement areas; students as having a supernumerary status; and the inclusion of students in supervision and debriefing sessions following traumatic incidents.

Research limitations/implications

This small‐scale exploratory study was conducted with a small number of students in one University. However, the study provides a strong starting point for further research on the support students receive during their mental health nurse training.

Originality/value

This paper makes some recommendations on ways to improve the support of students in practice, including maintaining and supporting the role of Practice Experience Managers who spend a considerable amount of time in placement areas interacting with students and feeding back relevant practice concerns to University staff.

Keywords

Citation

Phillips, L., Tannis‐Ellick, S. and Scott, B. (2013), "Student nurses’ experiences of support in relation to suicide or suicidal behaviours of mental health patients: an exploratory study", The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice, Vol. 8 No. 2, pp. 76-88. https://doi.org/10.1108/JMHTEP-05-2012-0010

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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