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Forensic psychiatric nursing care--nurses apprehension of their responsibility and work content: a Swedish survey

  • M Rask
  • Ingalill Rahm Hallberg
Publishing year: 2000
Language: English
Pages: 163-177
Publication/Series: Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing
Volume: 7
Issue: 2
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons

Abstract english

This questionnaire study aimed to investigate nurses' views regarding the areas of responsibility, work content and the theoretical perspectives found to dominate nursing duties in Swedish forensic care. The sample (n = 350) was chosen randomly from the five forensic units which provide treatment for patients in Sweden and there was a response rate of 70% (n = 246). The role of the nurses consisted mainly of actions related to activities of daily living (ADL)-activities. It is worth noting that, within the area of ADL-activities, practical work on the ward was the nurses' most common responsibility as well as work content. Less dominating aspects, were educating patients' families, leading group discussions with family or patients, co-operating with social authorities as well as activities related to life outside the unit. There were no significant differences with regard to gender but several differences between registered nurses (RNs) and licensed mental nurses (LMNs) were noted. There were mostly weak correlations between areas of responsibility or work content and theoretical perspectives. The results thus suggest that nurses in forensic care view their work to be mainly directed at patients' capacity for ADL-activities, medical psychiatric actions, informing and educating patients and families and assessing patients. An even greater emphasis on these aspects may be warranted because of the patients' serious deficits in social and life skills. It may be useful to consider an increased focus on a psycho-educational approach and to develop and test methods focusing on the development of patients' capacity for activities related to daily living in a broad sense. Further research is needed to investigate whether the aspects that dominate nursing care also coincide with what the patients apprehend as beneficial for their recovery.


  • Nursing
  • nursing theories
  • nurses' role
  • nurses' responsibility
  • nurses' assignment
  • forensic psychiatric nursing care


  • ISSN: 1351-0126
Ingalill Rahm Hallberg
E-mail: ingalill [dot] rahm_hallberg [at] med [dot] lu [dot] se

Professor emerita

Health-promoting Complex Interventions