The lived experience of working with female patients in a high secure hospital

Beryl, Rachel, Davies, Jason and Völlm, Birgit (2018) The lived experience of working with female patients in a high secure hospital. International Journal of Mental Health Nursing, 27 (1). pp. 82-91. ISSN 1447-0349

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Women’s secure hospitals are often considered to be stressful and demanding places to work, with these environments characterised as challenging and violent. The staff experience of working in this environment is however not well represented in the literature. This study is the first to examine the ‘lived experience’ of seven nurses working in the National High Secure Healthcare Service for Women. Interview transcripts were analysed with the use of Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis, and the findings presented within four superordinate themes ‘horror’, ‘balancing acts’, ‘emotional hard labour’, and ‘the ward as a community’. These themes all depict the challenges that participants experience in their work, the ways in which they cope with these challenges and how they make sense of these experiences. A meta-theme of ‘making sense by understanding why’ is also presented, which represents the importance for participants to attempt to make sense of the tensions and challenges by formulating a fuller meaning. The findings suggest the importance of workforce development, in terms of allowing sufficient protected time for reflection and formulation (for example within the format of group supervision or reflective practice), and for staff support mechanisms (e.g. clinical supervision, counselling, debriefs) to be inbuilt into the ethos of a service, so as to provide proactive support for staff ‘on the frontline’.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Beryl, R., Davies, J. and Völlm, B. (2016), Lived experience of working with female patients in a high-secure mental health setting. Int J Mental Health Nurs. doi:10.1111/inm.12297 which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.
Schools/Departments: University of Nottingham, UK > Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > School of Medicine > Division of Psychiatry and Applied Psychology
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Depositing User: Eprints, Support
Date Deposited: 09 Nov 2016 11:20
Last Modified: 04 May 2020 19:52

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