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Nurses lack skills to treat self-harm


Nurses are not receiving the right training or support to help people who self-harm, researchers from the University of Nottingham have concluded.

The researchers studied papers from the UK, Ireland, Sweden and Australia and found that people who self-harmed had predominantly negative views of their treatment, because of the attitude of healthcare professionals employed to help them.

The study found that lack of professional training was the main reason for the negative attitude.

The researchers also found that lack of support left nurses feeling they were failing in their duty of care to patients who self-harmed.

Click here to read more from the report


Readers' comments (33)

  • I have a foot in both camps here. As an RMN I was at a conference where a "service user" was speaking and berating the "care" they received in A&E depts after self-harming, and I was pleased to be given the opportunity to ask a question that seemed to take the wind out of her sails and seemed to get a lot of support from other conference attenders.
    I believe my point was that A&E is exactly that - it is for accidents and emergencies, neither of which really describes deliberate self harm. What is required is either permanent RMN presence in our current A&E settings, or at the very least a Crisis Intervention Team that will respond to a person presenting with DSH at A&E without needing fifty pieces of paper filling in to get an appointment in six months time.
    Lets add DSH "service users" to the list of other time wasting groups like binge drinkers, salad dodgers and boy racers......

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  • Feel saddened that someone who is an RMN shares the views of many others, regarding DSH. Disgusted to think that this person has an outdated opinion, and thinks that someone who is distressed enough to engage in self injury can be catagorised as a time waster. The outdated term Deliberate Self Harm in itself can be questioned, the deliberate element is the act, which unfortunately is a physical consequence of the distress an individual is currently experiencing.

    I too am an RMN and would be mortified to think that any of my colleagues felt the same way as the previous commentor. I know my values reflect my practice, and that I have a non judgemental approach to any person I am collaboration with at a time of crisis.

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  • Lets add DSH "service users" to the list of other time wasting groups like binge drinkers, salad dodgers and boy racers......

    what's this? what an appaling attitude for any healthcare professional. nurses worthy of their registration should be qualified to care for patients and implement the NICE guidelines in these vulnerable groups including DSH as well as recognising and handling individuals with Personality Disorders or any other MH problem or disorder. You can't simply exclude any patients and they do not come to A&E or any other medical facility to waste time they have come because they need assistance beyond their own damaged coping strategies.

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  • "Research shows that people who self harm had a predominately negative view of their treatment, due to the ATTITUDE of Healthcare professionals".

    The comment from Anon 10.47 simply, but sadly proves this research to be true.

    On reading the somewhat smug comment " I took the wind out of her sails". The RMN has completely forgotten that the comment refers to a vulnerable Service User who had the courage to stand up and share her experience. Did you really take the wind out of her sails? I doubt it. In reality what you did was reinforce exactly what the research shows. However, what is even more concerning is that you are willing to admit that you believe that you have the right to judge who should be treated in A&E. If you ever worked in A&E, which I doubt very much, you would know that there is little or no time to categorise the patients into the group you decide has the right to be treated and the group who you clearly slot into "Time Wasting Groups". It would do you good to remember that regardless of your opinion you have a Duty of Care but more importantly you are discussing vulnerable human beings.

    After such comments I too would question that are you worthy of your registration.

    Whilst you believe that you "SEEMED" to get a lot of support from your colleagues at the conference I would pray that you are somewhat deluded.

    Since you seem to have all the answers, perhaps you could explain where you are going to find the resources to implement -a Crisis Intervention Team and/or a permanent RMN presence in every A&E in the country.

    It is due to attitudes similar to yours that I have reluctantly taken early retirement. I refuse to be associated with members of the nursing profession who are openly discriminatory and therefore fail in their Duty of Care.

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  • what sort of learning environment is this?
    when a young girl was brought in to a medical unit after attempted suicide and the ward sister labelled her as an attention seeker!

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  • self harm isn't done just for the fun of it.
    these patients who seek help need it as soon as and when required. they have the right to help from anyone entitled to call themselves a qualified healthcare professional at any time. all those who consider themselves qualified healthcare professionals should have received appropriate training during their undergrad. basic training course to deal with any medical/psychological emergency. you cannot decide when you undertake basic training leading to a prof. qualification what you wish to learn and what you prefer to exclude and which type of patients or members of the public you would like to treat and those you would like to ignore and you have absolutely no right as a HC prof. to pass moral judgement on those patients who you consider to be wasting your time and those who merit your attention. whether you like it or not you have accepted to enter a profession where everyone has the right to professional healthcare otherwise you should work in another field where you are less likely to cause harm to others.
    The back of the NMC Membership card
    and the most recent version of the PROFESSIONAL CODE OF ETHICAL STANDARDS FOR NURSES AND MIDWIVES refers.

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  • incredible - how can these people call themselves nurses? I hope I never meet or have to work with any of them.

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  • At risk of joining in with a round of let's kick the ignorant, the ego driven,adversarial commenter above should consider whether his attitude in these comments is something he manages to prevent from leaking out in his day to day practice.
    All behaviour serves a purpose for the individual, and nurses treat individuals as a whole, which means access to health care in distress.
    Many injuries and illnesses are acquired through choice, bad choices like heroin or cider, but also healthy choices like climbing or rugby, or principled choices like serving your country. We cannot be the arbiters of which of these are valuable uses of our time.
    Please just think about how reactionary these attitudes sound, and that as a nurse you represent the face of nursing to all in your care

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  • Wow! a staggering lack of compassion or understanding of people in distress, Anonymous | 4-Oct-2010 10:47 am
    You might be right in that A&E is not the place to find long term help and resolution for the obvious presentation of pain however that does not excuse you attitude or comments, anonymous or not, on a public forum representing nurses and nursing.

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  • In general i have found a staggering lack of compassion in many A&E departments..both as a patient and a nurse. Rude and arrogant Dr's and equally uncaring nurses.

    Same goes for wards as well. As a patient who was once very ill and dehydrated i was told by a nurse that 'we are very busy don't you know' after waiting more than 12hrs to be put on a drip that was prescribed 12hrs previously!

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