Exploring mental health nurses’ experiences of a patient suicide in the community
mental health nurses
suicide loss survivorship
community mental health care
Subject Categories::B760 Mental Health Nursing
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AbstractThe aim of this study was to explore the experiences of mental health nurses after a patient dies by suicide in a community setting within the context of UK mental health services. It utilised the principles of Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) to explore the experiences of ten community mental health nurses who had experienced a patient suicide between 2002 and 2018. The study was divided into two main types of fieldwork, a pilot study and a main study. Using IPA, the ten interviews were analysed descriptively, conceptually and linguistically, which produced rich narratives reflecting their lived experience of patient suicide. Findings from this study produced three superordinate themes which capture mental health nurses’ experiences after a patient suicide: The experiential significance of a therapeutic relationship ending unexpectedly for the mental health nurse; searching for meaning of the patient suicide in the face of public scrutiny; and, after the suicide, the experience of intense grieving, learning, growing and moving on. Their stories revealed that the experience of suicide-loss survivorship as a community mental health nurse creates conflict as well as ongoing tensions between existentialism and personal ontologies. The implications of the findings suggest that although the memory of the patient who has died by suicide never leaves their psychological caseload, the community mental health nurse can be secure in knowing that they fully lived up to their part in the therapeutic nurse-patient relationship.
CitationMakaza, M. (2021) 'Exploring Mental Health Nurses’ Experiences of a Patient Suicide in The Community'. PhD thesis. University of Bedfordshire
PublisherUniversity of Bedfordshire
TypeThesis or dissertation
DescriptionA thesis submitted to the University of Bedfordshire, in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
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